Qiana Mestrich


Qiana Mestrich



New York

Artist Statement

Hard To Place

For all loves never allowed to be.

Hard To Place is a true story about race, family and the child welfare system in post-war Britain.

Combining confidential, UK government documentation with archival and (auto)biographical photography, this series traces the experience of Joseph, an orphan boy of Nigerian and Irish parentage growing up in 1960s/70s London. As a “half-cast(e)” child, in England, Joseph was considered “hard to place” amongst the mostly white, adoptive families.

Joseph is my husband. On our first date he nervously told me his life story, continuously pulling at his sleeves to hide the ink of bad decisions made during his teenage years as a black skinhead. The little boy seen in Hard To Place is our son. The images in the book provide a visual alternative to the official, master narrative of child welfare that many mixed-race children are imprisoned by.


Trust Your Struggle (2010)

In 2010 during the months after giving birth to my son, I turned to the camera to work through a period of intense loneliness I had never felt before. Feelings of joy and love for my new baby came with equal sentiments of fear and isolation. This “post-partum” situation challenged me to make photographs within the spatial limits of our apartment and to visualize my entrance into motherhood.

During this time, my photographic practice allowed me to hold on to a creative aspect of my previous self that I felt was slipping with every diaper change and breastmilk-pumping session. Trust Your Struggle is a photographic essay that documents what is often considered taboo when publicly discussing the new mother experience: the isolation, hectic days, sleepless nights, physical pain and those rare, selfish moments.




“Qiana Mestrich,” Artist Parent Index , accessed May 26, 2024, https://artistparentindex.com/items/show/237.

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