In Turkey, many teenage Muslims are sent by their families to religious schools where they are taught to memorize the Qur’an. In these single-sex, largely residential schools, young girls spend an intensive period of three or four years on their religious education. It was on her return to such a school, with her Hasselblad camera in hand, that Sabiha Çimen discovered her artistic voice. Her most significant project to date, “Hafiz: Guardians of the Qur’an”, captures students in attendance at several girls-only Qur’an schools throughout Turkey, weaving its emotional narrative through collected vignettes of the daydreams, trivialities, quiet rebellions and melodramas of youth.

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