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Hackney Writers

8 / 20 Grandmother's Footsteps: Ann Taylor Children's Centre

Anna Sherwin writes:

'The ideas behind ‘Grandmother's Footsteps’ arose from parallel events: the birth of my daughter, Maya, and the death of my mother Eva six months later. My mother held my new baby in her arms, but was too ill to recognise her granddaughter. Her loss left me with unanswered questions about her life and my maternal history.

I began to ask myself, ‘How often are generations of mothers and daughters close? How have mother’s hopes and expectations for their daughters changed from one generation to the next?’

I had set up a community dark room near Dalston whilst training to be photographer and, searching for answers, I asked my students and my friends about their own experiences of motherhood. This evolved into a series of portraits and interviews and an audiovisual show at the Rio cinema.

This portrait of Christiana Christolfi and her great granddaughter Jasmin Harman was one result of my questions. Their Greek Cypriot family was the only example I found of four generations of mothers who all lived within easy reach of one another. I was struck by their resemblance, which had leapt a generation, and the way their faces seemed to mirror one another across time.'

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Christiana Christolfi and her great granddaughter Jasmin Harman, 1980s © Anna Sherwin