Undrabörn / Extraordinary Child
This exhibit first opened at the National Museum of Iceland as part of its mission to emphasize the diverse facets of Icelandic history and society.
In Undrabörn/Extraordinary Child Mary Ellen Mark portrays in intimate detail the lives of Icelandic children coping with a variety of physical and mental challenges as they go about their daily activities. Moving, poignant, sad and joyous, these photographs take us into a reality that adjoins our own but is seldom seen. The images also powerfully illuminate one of Iceland’s core values, a basic educational policy that calls for schools “without differentiation.” While parents are increasingly enrolling their children in conventional schools, there are those who continue to choose schools that specialize in teaching children with severe learning disabilities, believing that with experienced support and encouragement their children will gain independence and develop abilities that defy expectations.
A film by Martin Bell
Public screening with Q & A with Martin Bell and Mary Ellen Mark
Wednesday, November 11, 2009, 7 p.m.
Nasher Museum of Art
During the seven weeks that Mary Ellen Mark and her husband, Martin Bell, spent in Iceland from 2005 to 2007, Bell made Alexander, a film that focuses on an extraordinary boy and his family.
The Independent Weekly reviews Undrabörn/Extraordinary Child, calling it "striking" and "beautifully installed."
"The dramatic juxtapositions of activities, personalities and physical realities in Mark's photos have majesty about them. She allows the camera to do what documentary photography does best: capture those fleeting moments that expose, define and teach about the human condition."