When Tamila Kochkarova set the date for her female-empowering photo exhibition two months ago, she did not suspect that it would coincide with the International Day of the Girl. “I planned this date solely out of convenience before finding out that it’s actually a very special day for girls, so I’m super excited to celebrate Girls Day by throwing my first ever exhibition for girls, all while being greatly supported by girls,” she mused to Vogue.me ahead of Thursday’s jam-packed launch.
“Girls” is a new photo book and exhibition that celebrates women in an explosion of beautiful colors, made possible by the clothing store Selectshop Frame in Dubai Design District, where it will be on display throughout the week. For the project, the artist corralled a mix of her friends, artists, and local muses, resulting in intimate portraits of “real” women hailing from Dubai. Featuring more than 30 profound photographs, her Sony Nex-6 lens captured myriad female talent, including artists, photographers, bloggers, and DJs. Every photograph is unique, much like the women who serve as the subjects. “This exhibition is to celebrate women of all colors, sizes, and talents because that is one of the main things that’s inspired me through out my life and all my passions. Women are real-life superheroes and nothing can compare to them,” muses the 22-year-old who has called the UAE home for 14 years.
Wise beyond her years, the photographer’s exhibition and self-published photo book is a homage to her mother, who raised her and her younger sister as a single mom. “My father was never involved with mine or my sister’s life. My mother is a single parent raising two kids, with zero support. How much more inspiring can it get?”
The idea for “Girls” came to fruition after Kochkarova decided to revisit her great grandfather’s decades-old book of poetry back in her home country of Uzbekistan, and realized just how timeless books really are. “His book of poetry is approximately 70 years old and his work focused mainly on love, which is also another very timeless topic. Though he’s not alive today, his work still lives on, and whenever I miss him, I can go back to it and read it all over again.” She also credits one of her favorite artists, Mac Miller, who suddenly passed away in September, for inspiring her to launch the project. “His music resonated with me so much. I’m grateful to the fact it’s still around to continue reminding us about his beautiful legacy,” she explains. “I’m sure most of his fans can agree. What really pushed me is his craft, his music, and how timeless and immortal it is, which motivated me to create something that could hopefully be as permanent in this world.”
Take a look at the photographs above for an exclusive preview of “Girls”, and visit Selectshop Frame in Dubai Design District to purchase a copy of the deeply personal project.