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Almerisa, Leidschendam, The Netherlands
Rineke Dijkstra (Dutch, born Sittard, 1959)
Image: 93.3 x 75.6 cm (36 3/4 x 29 3/4 in.)
Sheet: 118.7 x 98.4 cm (46 3/4 x 38 3/4 in.)
Frame: 124.5 x 104.1 x 3.8 cm (49 x 41 x 1 1/2 in.)
Gift of Ellen Kern, 2008
Not on view
Dijkstra is best known for her portraits of teenage beachgoers in Poland, Croatia, the Ukraine, Belgium, England, and America, which convey the poignant intensity of adolescence with startling eloquence. In all her work, she is particularly drawn to subjects in a state of transition - blood-spattered matadors just minutes after bullfights, women cradling their newborns moments after delivery - and renders them with respect, attentiveness, and compassion.
Between 1994 and 2008 Dijkstra made eleven photographs of a Bosnian refugee girl named Almerisa, from her initial processing at an asylum seekers' center in the Netherlands to her fully Westernized adulthood and motherhood. Here, the imprint of geopolitical displacement is rendered without cant and that of childhood is captured without nostalgia. Like all great portraitists, Dijkstra extracts an elemental, almost mythic quality from the irreducible individuality of her subject - of the eternal radiating from the everyday. This selection is from a recent gift to the Metropolitan of eight of the eleven portraits of Almerisa.
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