EACH YEAR, 15 MILLION GIRLS ARE MARRIED BEFORE THE AGE OF 18.
THAT IS 28 GIRLS EVERY MINUTE.
1 EVERY 2 SECONDS.
As a child, I can recall hearing my parents talk about a time when my Grandma was married off to a much older man in China when she was 14-years old. Growing up I never really spared much thought for it. I dismissed it as some sort of outdated rite of passage, part of the ethos, that though entirely alien to me here in London was somehow acceptable within the culture that my family came from.
When beginning this project, I tried to find out as much information as I could from my father, who told me that she was sold to a man and woman who couldn’t conceive; bought to have children for them. How she came to get away from them I do not know but it was in later years that she met my father’s father and went onto have three children. Because of certain Chinese values, I was unable to get an account directly from my Grandma; told that if I were to ask her she may never speak to me again. She's now a Buddhist monk living here in the UK.
I guess you can say that I’m basing this project on an untold story; a story that I may never fully know.
If you want to get a basic overview of what exactly child marriage is, take a look at the two videos below; a short documentary from National Geographic and a social experiment:
Times Square - Coby Persin. The piece was created to gage the public’s reaction when they staged a performance, mimicking a post-wedding photoshoot of a 12-year-old girl and a 65-year old man.
Awareness around this subject is growing, but there's still a long way to go.
With a possible 100 million more girls getting married whilst they’re still children in the next decade, we have the opportunity to support, bring about awareness and save those 100 million girls; otherwise they’ll be lost into the cycle of poverty that endures generation after generation.
I believe that through my own artistic discipline, I can create something that will add to this growing idea of change. I want to produce a moving art piece that will artistically shed light on what so many young girls are being subjected to day after day.
I will be approaching charities such as Girls Not Brides, Women’s World Wide Web, Care International, Plan International, Women for Women International and more.
I will also be entering it into The London Dance Film Festival and Raindance Festival.
ABOUT THE FILM/SHORT SYNOPSIS
Based on numerous accouts, merged to create one.
I will be producing a short contemporary dance piece; taking inspiration from Japanese Butoh Dance. I’ll be utilising my skills as a make-up artist to create two characters that represent a child bride and groom. I will be creating facial prosthetics that represent sexuality and sexual organs; intriguing and yet repulsive at the same time. The film will depict a stylised, abtract story of the young girl being married to the man. Through movement and dance, they will tell her story, of how she was beaten and abused physically and sexually, until she eventually manages to escape.
The dance will be the representation of the way in which her mind was seeing the situation, and the last shot will be her escaping that ‘reality’. Below are the designs for the child bride and the groom:
If you want to have a look at more of my work, visit www.tabithali.com
I cannot thank you enough for the support, whether you're able to donate 50p or £50