The Prıce of Peace at Your Mom's Home!

Leaving your parents' house is a common situation when you get closer to the west. And it is also a necessary situation after your twenties, as far as we observe from afar. In the east however, it's the first battle that you have to fight to become an individual and has little to do with how old you are. Leaving the family home requires a tough struggle with your parents and it's even harder for the women to win this fight. As years go by and you are in your thirty fives, the visits to your parents' house become much more valuable. The family home, once you try to run away as quickly as possible, turns into the center of peace that you always want to experience. And we define this peace with phrases stating with the word mom; mom's breakfast, mom's home, mom's peace, mom's cooking...

Defining peace is easy but seeing and appreciating the enormous effort, the hard labour from women making this setting possible is hard. Let's try to make a list: Tidying the bed when we wake up, ironing our clothes, making the breakfast ready, washing the dishes, cleaning every corner of the house, handling the shopping faultlessly..everything that's been prepared for us and gives us peace come with hard work and great effort. Naming this effort in a plain way and making it invisible is nothing but cruel: Housewife!

Nowadays photographers waste their time trying to get the approval of curators and critics in order to access different circles. However, the effort to unveil the unseen is an effort that suits both the art of photography and documentary photography better. The discipline of documentary photography has always been one of the most influential ways to bring light to the obscure and the neglected and make them contestable.

IFSAK Documentary Lab member Sevil Alkan's "Housewives" project is quintessential to the nature of documentary photography. Sevil Alkan enters the secluded four walls of the "home" and tries to pull out the unseen, undervalued great effort that is mostly considered mundane and brings it up for discussion.

I truly hope that Sevil Alkan's photographs will distort your "peace at mom's home".

Altan Bal
Housewives Project Editor
5 November 2017

* "Sanat Dünyası Kabul Etsin Diye Fotoğraf Cansızı (Deadpan) Oynamak Zorunda Mıdır?" Chiara Capodici

I grew up a happy kid. Mom, dad and my younger brother, we made a warm family.
As is the case with most men, there was some distance between home and my father.
Both when he was at work and at home.

The beating heart of our home was mom. The steadfast lady of the house.
She meant everything to our home. She was home.
A housewife fortifying dad's 'guest' relationship with home by her presence and with all the endless housework she does.

There are around 14 million housewives in Turkey.
Workers who turn groups of rooms inhabited by family members into homes.
Bearing the brunt of a job they can never leave or hand over. A job where pay is not even suggested.

Rich or poor, by choice or by force…
Once a housewife, your labour is null. Your time, happiness, health, your body and your future are all dedicated to a sacred cause.
You become invisible.

That was my motive. I wanted to enter the housewives' sphere and to tell what I see and hear.
I spent days in the homes of 14 women including my mom.
I photographed them trying to keep up with housework, raising kids and and on their rare spare time.

Sevil Alkan