The haunting face of Sharbat Gula - National Geographic

People often ask me where my inspiration comes from.

Mostly, I don't know. But this one went like this.

A friend was moving house and gifted me a pristine bunch of National Geographic mags. I took them with abundant gratitude, and when I was anally arranging them in the studio, cast my eyes across this famous face - again. And it ignited a seed of thought - again - and it got me thinking - again - about the fact that out of sight out of mind is a serious phenomenan, such that we can be wholly conscious and empathetic and community minded and committed to causes in our local village, but that in the daily hurtle of ordinary life - it's so easy to forget the haunting stories of girls like this.

I look at her and think - what have you seen? What do you dream? What do you hope? Is the world big or small, or something constraining known only to you? As a mother to daughters who are girls still buoyant, wings wide not clipped, still full of the possibility of life, I look at Sharbat Gula, aged 12 here and now the same age as me, and wish I could give her back her girlhood. Wish I could say that the knowing goneness in her stare we could somehow replenish and restore with the good stuff of life again.

This is, of course, utopian dreaming from the world's other side.

But I look at my fledgling daughters four and wish I could gather Sharbat and all the world's girls carving out life in wartorn oppression, and yearn to give them the basic right of flight. 

'Girl Gone' 2015 #collage #madeleinegrummet
 

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