Fessler Belfast exhibit & VA lecture

On Thursday, October 23, 2014, Ann Fessler (Professor, Photography) will give a talk about her work on A GIRL LIKE HER as part of the “2014 Visual Voices Professional Lecture Series” at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. (Harris Theater, 7:30 PM).

A GIRL LIKE HER reveals the hidden history of over a million young women who became pregnant in the 1950s and 60s and were banished to maternity homes to give birth, surrender their children, and return home alone. They were told to keep their secret, move on and forget. But, does a woman forget her child?

The film combines footage from educational films and newsreels of the time period about dating, sex, “illegitimate” pregnancy, and adoption—that both reflected and shaped the public’s understanding of single pregnancy during that time—with the voices of these mothers as they speak today, with hindsight, about the long-term impact of surrender and silence on their lives.

Fessler’s work will be exhibited at Belfast Exposed photography gallery in Belfast, Northern Ireland as part of Home Truths: Photography – Motherhood & Identity, October 23–December 21, 2014.

Home Truths: Photography, Motherhood and Identity presents the work of eight international artists who explore the complex and demanding experience of motherhood. The artists draw on a wide range of influences, from fashion and lifestyle magazines to fantasy and fiction, from painting and iconography to vernacular photography, from performance and staged practices to private journals and everyday life. Set against a backdrop of insatiable public appetite for pictures of celebrity mums and babies, the artists depict familiar, and less visible aspects, of mothering from a deeply personal perspective. Pregnancy, birth, the effect of becoming a mother on one’s identity; the relationship between generations of mothers; coming to terms with loss, abandonment, and the unfulfilled desire to become a mother are all areas explored in the exhibition. Interweaving narratives, charged with conflicting emotions, provide an intimate, multi-faceted and unconventional view of a universal experience.


Ann Fessler, Belfast Exposed, George Mason University, News, Photography, photography department, socially engaged art

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