Karolin Klüppel

Kingdom of girls

In the state of Meghalaya in India, the indigenous people of the Khasi with 1,1 million members form the majority of the population. The Khasi are a matrilineal society. Here, traditionally it is the girls who are of particularly importance and who play an exposed role in the family. The line of succession passes through the youngest daughter. If she marries, her husband is taken into her family‘s house, and the children take their mother‘s name. A family with just sons is considered unlucky, because only daughters can assure the continuity of a clan. The succession after maternal line guarantees girls and women in Meghalaya a unique economic and social independence compared to general indian conditions. To disrespect a woman in the khasi culture means to harm the society.

Between 2013 and 2014 I spent nine months in the khasi village of Mawlynnong in north-east India, a village of just 95 dwellings. In this series I concentrate on the girls themselves in contextualizing them in their everyday physical environment through a sensitive balance between documentation and composition.

Karolin Klüppel (*1985) studied at the School of Art and Design in Kassel and at the Faculdade de Belas Artes in Lisbon and holds a MFA in photography. Since 2012 she concentrates on personal projects and often spends months abroad. She regularly exhibits in galleries, museums and festivals, including the „Voies Off” festival in Arles in 2012 and „Festival Circulation(s)“ in Paris in 2015. Her recent project „Mädchenland“ has won several awards such as the Canon Profifoto Award 2014 and the Felix Schoeller Award 2015 and has been published in international magazines such as The National Geographic Magazine, The New York Times, The Independent, The Huffington Post, The Washington Post, etc. In her work she is concerned with gender relations and matrilineal or matriarchal societies.