In January 2015, Alice Wielinga started her project, Shadows of Pakistan. She had the chance to visit Islamabad and to travel to the outskirts of the city, which inhabits unregistered Afghan and internal refugees. Alice got to know about the subject through the work of two-time Pulitzer prize winner Muhammed Muheisen. Before the refugee crisis became an important topic, Muheisen’s camera was turned to the most vulnerable group of people society knows. Today, there are 2.5 million registered Afghan refugees still in Pakistan.
In 2015, Wielinga joined Muheisen on a challenging and inspiring journey to meet the people he had photographed. “Especially the children were a source of inspiration to me. They seemed to not have lost their sense of imagination, the smiles on their faces, although they went through hardship beyond my imagination.”
Using the visual language of Islamic medieval miniature art, she recreates the castles and depictions of the Persian empire’s court life. “I wonder if the wealth and stories of old times can still echo into their contemporary situation full of hardship. Their situation makes me sad. I realize my work can never be more than a prayer, a whisper of hope. But those beautiful children, they need it the most.”