"I present Sharon, my beloved disabled daughter."
Exhibited together for the very first time, Sharon is a heart-wrenching collection of 30 black and white photographic prints that meticulously trace the profound struggles internationally acclaimed contemporary photographer Leon Borensztein faced while raising his severely disabled daughter. It is a story of personal sacrifice, "... a keen examination of the many aspects of disability."
"We are like everybody else, just different. I invite you into our life, just for a moment. I want you to see."
As a very young child, Sharon was diagnosed with many debilitating illnesses and disabilities including autism, blindness, a seizure disorder, and other physical, mental, and developmental difficulties. By using his camera to determinedly navigate this challenging relationship, Leon created a visual chronicle of his innermost thoughts and feelingsâ€“a narrative of their life from the time of Sharon's prenatal development to the age of 30.
"How can I visually depict the complexities and challenges facing someone who is a single parent to a child with many disabilities?"
The resulting pictorial experience, an affecting series of penetrating snapshots, communicates the strength of Sharon's spirit, invites us to consider the power of unremitting love, and "... offers a unique opportunity to increase awareness about disability, challenges of single parenthood and the horrible incidents that people with disabilities, especially women, might experience in their lives."
Leon's attendant publication, Sharon, is a compilation of his many years of archives: the photographs being exhibited at the Fort Wayne Museum of Art, writings recounting his life's journey, and additional photographs.
As he states in the dedication to his publication: "Sharon, you are the most beautiful and the most precious gift a father could dream about."
This exhibition has been organized by Tiffany Street, curator of special collections at the Fort Wayne Museum of Art, and Ruta Saliklis, curator and director of exhibitions at the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art.
The photographs in this exhibit originally appeared in Borensztein's book Sharon, available for purchase here.
This exhibition has been made possible by the AWS Foundation.