Where Children Sleep: An Exhibit At The Leonardo

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Where Children Sleep At The Leonardo

Where Children Sleep: Photographs by James Mollison


In this revealing series of photographs, James Mollison invites us into the diverse stories of children in many different countries and circumstances. Each studio-style portrait is accompanied by a detailed study of the child’s “bedroom,” which can range from elaborate sanctuaries to the barest spaces set aside for sleep.

The photographs and their related didactic materials convey the story of a universal childhood, full of insecurity, hope, pain, comfort, and doubt. Economic inequality, children’s rights, and how we are defined by our possessions and formed by our circumstances are some of the complex social, typological, and cultural issues that resonate in Mollison’s work.

The project, in all its diversity, is frankly observant and often surprising. Mollison’s subjects convey the simple truth that all children, whether from a first- or third-world economy, need to be nurtured and protected. His call to action is that we might walk away changed, viewing every child we meet as an individual in need of love and care. As the very concept of sleep and personal space conveys, Where Children Sleep is, above all else, a portrait of vulnerability.



From the start, I didn’t want it just to be about ‘needy children’ in the developing world, but rather something more inclusive, about children from all types of situations. It seemed tomake sense to photograph the children themselves, too, but separately from their bedrooms, using a neutral background. — James Mollison

As much as the project is about the quirkiness of childhood, it is, more strikingly, a commentary on class and on poverty. But the diversity also provides a sense of togetherness.

The New York Times



This exhibit will only be available for a short time.  Bring the entire family and come discover the sleeping conditions of children from around the world.  This exhibit is included with the purchase of Leonardo General Admission ticket.  Avoid the lines and pre purchase your tickets before coming to the museum.




James Mollison was born in Kenya in 1973 and grew up in England. After studying art and design at Oxford Brookes, and later film and photography at Newport School of Art and Design, he moved to Italy to work at Benetton’s creative lab, Fabrica. His work has been widely published throughout the world in Colors, The New York Times Magazine, the Guardian magazine, The Paris Review, The New Yorker, Le Monde, and elsewhere. Mollison has lived in Venice, Italy since 2003.


Read this fascinating article from one of our devoted partners CityHome Collective: http://cityhomecollective.com/children-sleep/


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