Judy Gelles (Philadelphia, PA) holds an MFA in photography from the Rhode Island School of Design. Her work is collected in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Gelles has had artist residencies at the MacDowell Colony, the Visual Studies Workshop and the Atlantic Center for the Arts. She was the recipient of the 2007-2008 Fleisher Challenge Award and an Independence Foundation Fellowship in the Arts Grant. Gelles is represented by the Stephen Cohen Gallery in Los Angeles, CA; the Etherton Gallery, Tucson, AZ; and Pentimenti Gallery, Philadelphia, PA.

The portraits are of fourth grade migrant students from the Dong Fang Hong School in Beijing, China. It is the only government approved school for migrant children in Beijing. China’s rural-to-urban migration has created twenty million migrant children who make up a significant segment of the country’s new urban poor. A majority of the migrant fourth-grade children are separated from their older brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles and grandparents. The children are aware of their parents’ sacrifices and want to do well in school for their parents. The school has ten rules that all students must follow. The students say the rules make them feel safe. The rules are written in Chinese calligraphy and transposed onto the wall behind each portrait.


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