Sabiha Çimen spent three years photographing Girl Quran Schools in five cities in Turkey, a subject that she knows very well since she attended the same schools when she was a teenager with her twin sister. After becoming a photographer, she returned to those schools to work on her project that has now become the subject for her first book.
The title Hafiz refers to one who has memorized all 604 pages of the Holy Quran. Historically the task of memorization began during the time of Muhammad. The individual process can take up to four years and is usually done by girls ranging in age from eight to nineteen. Turkey has thousands of Quran schools.
This world has never been captured with so much intimacy before, as only Sabiha can do, because she is part of this culture. Every photo reveals a different aspect and gives us a deeper understanding of the daily life and the dreams of these girls.
Sabiha Cimen, 2020 Magnum nominee, is the receipient of W. Eugene Smith Memorial Grant in 2020, Lightwork Artist Residency in 2021, World Press Photo - Long Term Project award in 2020, and other grants.