Faces of Bougainville: Mother and Daughter
My salute to all the mothers and daughters of the world!
I posted this mother and child portrait on International Women’s Day (March 8) last year. It remains as one of my most favorite photos.
This image, my favorite amongst my Bougainville portraits, made me think of the unusual role this mother and daughter play in the family. Almost all the clans in Bougainville are matriarchal. Intrigued by this unfamiliar practice, I had to ask a Bougainvillean woman colleague how it works and she summed it up like this: “Mothers hold an important leadership role, not only in the family but also within the clan, especially when it comes to rights and ownership over ancestral lands. Clan land has to be under the name and discretion of the clan’s woman elder. Only female children are entitled to inheritance. Men and boys may use the land to prosper the family but the ownership remains under the name of a woman.” I truly wonder about the advantages and disadvantages of this arrangement compared to…
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