In the collection: Almerisa

In the collection: Almerisa

Rineke Dijkstra, Almerisa, 1994

In 1994, photographer Rineke Dijkstra met six-year-old Almerisa in the asylum seekers’ centre in Leiden. Since then, Rineke has made a portrait of Almerisa every year or two. The series of by now sixteen photographs shows how a Bosnian girl becomes an adult woman in her new homeland.

Rineke Dijkstra, Almerisa, 2000

The composition of the photos is always the same, but the person in the photo changes significantly. Almerisa grows up: she goes from a young girl, to a teenager, and an adult.

The clothes Almerisa wears change with her. She always puts on her best clothes for the photo, or the clothes in which she feels most comfortable and herself at that moment.

What you might not notice immediately is that not just Almerisa and her clothes change a lot, but also the surroundings in which the photos were taken. Each photo was taken in the house where Almerisa was living at the time.

According to Almerisa, the chairs she sits on in the photos are an important detail: “the chair represents my life”. The chair changes over the years as much as Almerisa herself. From the wobbly plastic chair in the asylum seekers’ centre, to a solid wooden dining chair, and later a comfortable leather chair that stands firmly on the ground.

FENIX 2025

After the opening, in FENIX you will find contemporary art, photography and historical objects. The collection tells stories about the movement of people around the world. Stories from yesterday, today and tomorrow.