Monika Merva (b. 1969) received her B.A in Philosophy from Northeastern University and her MFA in Photography from Savannah College of Art & Design in 1998. Her project The City of Children was awarded second place under photojournalism in the PX3 2009 Competition. The monograph, The City of Children (Kehrer Verlag, 2010), was a finalist in last year’s The Pictures of the Year International Awards, and The City of Children was selected by Alexa Becker of Kehrer Verlag as one of the Discoveries of The Meeting Place. Her most recent work, Origins of an Emotion was selected for the Fresh Klompching Gallery’s Annual Summer exhibition in 2012. It is also the cover story in the Summer 2012 issue of HotShoe International. She has been exhibited in the U.S and internationally.
The City of Children is an extensive document of a government-run housing program for runaways ans at-risk teens. The official name is the Karolyi Istvan Gyermekkozont, located in Fot, Hungary. It was founded in the 1950's, a period when the Hungarian social welfare system emphasized collective solutions to private problems.
Having visited The City of Children many times over the years, I have become increasingly impressed by its quiet, and often hidden, power and beauty. I believe the home is where our strength lies. It's the source of everything: where all our fears, questions, love and sense of belonging originate.
At first glance you might simply see the people photographed as very different from yourself, but after a longer look, you see the commonality of our life experiences. There is a bond between all people through which we can relate to one another, and it just needs to be recognized.
The connection may be the memory of teen-age angst, a feeling of isolation, or the joy of laughing with a great friend.
Bibliotheque Nationale de France, Paris, France
Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY
George Eastman House, Rochester, NY
Hungarian Museum of Photography, Kecsemet, Hungary
Johnson & Johnson Corporate Art Collection, New Brunswick, NJ
Karloyi Istvan Gyermekkozpont, Fot, Hungary
The Mai Mano Haz, Budapest, Hungary
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas
Worcester Art Museum, Worcester, MA
The City of Children published by Kehrer Verlag, 2010