Magnum / Season ONE

Transfiguration: The Double Life of Şeyma

Sabiha Çimen

The impetus of this project grew out of my first book Hafız, about young girls who are memorizing Quran in schools through-out Turkey. Some marry and have children soon after graduation, but some rebel and transform themselves in a radical way; Şeyma is one of those stories of Transfiguration. This is a world known to me because I too studied in a Quran school with my twin sister in Istanbul when I was younger. When I returned to do my first long term photographic project l sought out familiar scenes and objects from my memory there and it was there that I met Şeyma and her unique and radical ways. My projects usually deal with the Art of Resistance within my close circle of friends and family. In my last project the young girls' trivialities and playfulness took center stage, and now as these girls enter into adulthood they are faced with living in a world of male dominance. Sometimes, as with Şeyma, there is a need for revenge with their new found power over men and their money and habits; an inner strength coming from raw female intellect, and sexuality. This time my project not only focuses on the girls stories, but lies within the context of a large city- Istanbul, with its multiple layers and meanings. l am trying to provide the viewer cause and effect by viewing the different strata simultaneously and between. In the story Şeyma l am portraying her world, her fantasies, her fears, hidden love stories, songs and signs, ancient traditions, religious black-outs, and her continued spirituality that was never lost even through her Transfiguration.

Currently Minting

Sabiha Çimen

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