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PICTORIAL STORY

March 8, 2024

COALESCENCE

Navigating Womanhood Through Intimate Dialogue

Photography and project by Vin Sharma and her daughter Shivani
Story by Karen Ghostlaw Pomarico

Today on International Women's Day, we are delighted to showcase a collaborative project between a mother and daughter, both navigating pivotal stages in their lives. Vin Sharma, a Brooklyn-based photographer of Indian immigrant descent, was raised in Canada. Her strong cultural family connections inspire Vin to capture a kaleidoscope of emotions we are confronted with on a regular basis. Her work illustrates our impact on one another and the world around us. Vin’s body of work speaks a universal language of shared human experiences, drawing viewers into intimate dialogues. As a mother, the bond she shares with her daughter Shivani is a driving force in her creative approach. Shivani was born in Brooklyn, and it is her home sweet home. She was named after a powerful Goddess of Hindu mythology and serves as muse, as well as a welcome companion. These are the forces Shivani brings to Vin’s life and the enthusiasm she had working with her mother to create this project. Their exploration together gave them time to observe each other in new but familiar ways, allowing their relationship to grow in new directions.

Together, Vin and Shivani embark on a photographic adventure that offers them fresh perspectives on each other, nurturing their relationship to evolve in unforeseen ways. Their collaboration prompts contemplation: when do we, as children, grasp the intricacies of adulthood? Conversely, as adults, when do we rediscover the liberation of embracing the innocence of childhood anew?

VIN SHARMA

In the realm of photography, art often serves as a mirror reflecting the complexities of human experiences. “Coalescence” is a striking example of this, a series of visual diptychs delicately woven to portray the intimate dialogue between a mother and her daughter. Yet, beyond the familial bond, this project transcends personal narratives to touch upon universal themes of transition, acceptance, and the beauty inherent in change.

At its core, “Coalescence” embodies the very essence of its namesake: the joining or merging of elements to form one mass or whole. Here, the elements in question are not just the individuals captured within the frames but also the myriad emotions, memories, and societal constructs surrounding womanhood. The mother, nearing the end of her menstrual cycle, stands in juxtaposition to her daughter, teetering on the precipice of adolescence. Forty years span between them, a lifetime of experiences and lessons encapsulated within each glance exchanged across the diptychs. Vin shares her driving inspiration for the project.

“My daughter pivots on the cusp of adolescence, while I am nearing the end of this cycle. 40 years divide us. As the tenderness of childhood slips away, we bracket each other's natural rhythms. In between, rests a delicate balance of our demands and desires.

The cycle of life’s balance persists.

The youthful desires that once held my attention make way for the gift of time, while my daughter’s zest for life unravels as a charged birth of emotion.

We seek to tread gently through these rites of passage, as we emerge through our inevitable coalescence. We weave our stories together with a gentle acceptance of age.”

As viewers immerse themselves in this visual narrative, they witness the ebb and flow of life’s rhythms mirrored in the subtle nuances of expression and gestural posture. The tender vulnerability of childhood yields to the charged intensity of adolescence, while the mother embodies a sense of quiet wisdom born from the passage of time. It is a testament to the cyclical nature of existence, where beginnings and endings intertwine in a perpetual dance of renewal.

What sets “Coalescence” apart is its unapologetic embrace of the natural processes often relegated to the shadows of societal discourse: menstruation and menopause. These pivotal stages in a woman’s life are not merely biological phenomena but transformative experiences that shape one's identity and perception of self. Through the lens of the diptychs, the artists invite us to confront these topics with grace and dignity, challenging us to shed the stigma and shame surrounding them.

Moreover, “Coalescence” serves as a poignant reminder of the interconnectedness of generations. As mother and daughter stand side by side, their shared experiences reverberate through the images, bridging the gap between past, present, and future. It is a celebration of lineage, of the wisdom passed down through whispered words and silent gestures, weaving a tapestry of resilience and strength.

Yet, amidst the weight of tradition and expectation, there exists a profound sense of liberation within “Coalescence.” It is a call to arms, urging us to honor our individual journeys and embrace change as a catalyst for growth and self-discovery. In a world that often seeks to confine and define us, these diptychs offer a sanctuary of acceptance and love, inviting us to chart our own course through the ever-shifting currents of womanhood.

In essence, “Coalescence” is more than just a collection of photographs; it is a testament to the power of art to illuminate the human experience. Through its intimate portrayal of mother-daughter dynamics and its unflinching exploration of womanhood, this project nurtures hope and a passionate visual story for solidarity for women of all ages. As we navigate the tumultuous waters of life, may we find solace in the knowledge that we are never truly alone — that in our coalescence, we find strength.

Through the lens of Vin Sharma and her daughter Shivani, “Coalescence” presents a mesmerizing dialogue between generations, encapsulating the timeless journey from childhood to adulthood. With each carefully crafted diptych, the project delves deep into the intertwining threads of womanhood, celebrating the natural processes of menstruation and menopause with grace and dignity.

Beyond the mere documentation of familial ties, “Coalescence” serves as a beacon of empowerment, challenging societal norms and inviting viewers to embrace their individual paths with courage and authenticity. It is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit, reminding us of the strength found within our interconnectedness and the transformative power of self-discovery.

As we immerse ourselves in the evocative imagery of “Coalescence,” may we find inspiration in the shared journey of its creators. May we honor the wisdom passed down through generations and embrace change as a catalyst for growth and renewal. In our collective coalescence, may we discover the beauty of our own unique narratives, and find solace in the knowledge that we are united in our shared human experience.

We conclude with a quote from Shivani about her personal experience on this journey.

“I think this project displays the confusion, strength, and resilience of young (and old I guess) girls throughout a journey. It serves as a reminder of the importance of supporting and celebrating women throughout their lives.”

When Vin asked Shivani if she thought this project brought them closer, she told her mother, “Nope, we are close enough.” Perhaps it is not closeness they learned about, but strength in independence, as a strong sensitive aware young woman.

The Pictorial List would like to thank Vin and her daughter for sharing their wonderful work together, allowing us an intimate view on their emotional journey together, providing inspiration for other women transitioning in life. Women everywhere can embrace what you have created together during these challenging times. It illuminates the negatives, once clearly seen they become the positives.

Vin leaves us with.

“Through these diptychs, we encourage you, whoever you are, regardless of age, to honor your personal journeys and celebrate change as a catalyst for acceptance and love.”

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The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the text belong solely to the author/s, and are not necessarily shared by The Pictorial List and the team.

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