Collection on show at the iconic Library of Birmingham

Thursday 18th April - 29th June 2024, in support of Young Minds UK.

Public Opening Event Thursday 18th April, 6pm-8pm


"Little Faces Big Feelings" is a poignant photographic collection documenting and highlighting the profound impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on children and young people worldwide. The project, spearheaded by documentary photographer Maria Reaney, brings together 16 artists from internationally diverse backgrounds to shed light on the social and emotional challenges faced by children during lockdowns and thereafter.

The world had predominantly been shut down and there were no opportunities to photograph in the public domain so Maria turned her lens onto her children and home life. The long slow days meant she trawled Instagram like never before, bonding with numerous artists all over the world. This historic, and pivotal time, was hugely significant to humanity and compelled Maria to reach out to photographers in order to collate a grassroots collection. Maria's immense passion for history and phycology meant she  gathered images together which both celebrated and documented the highs and lows of this incarceration in our homes. 

Through a genuine and authentic female lens, the images capture the experiences and stories of young people navigating a disrupted world. From the closure of schools and public spaces to the upheaval of daily routines, the photographs reflect a spectrum of emotions—boredom, longing, contemplation, playfulness, curiosity, and frustration. In a time marked by unprecedented mental health challenges for children, this collection becomes a powerful historical document, highlighting the emotional toll of the pandemic.

The project aims to not only foster compassion and understanding for mental health but also to spark essential conversations and empathy around our feelings and emotions. The human race are social creatures and once that critical requirement for growth is taken away our minds and bodies crave interaction, love and support. As the legendary Birmingham poet, the late Benjamin Zephaniah stated, “People need people”.

This is Maria Reaney's curatorial debut and she relished every moment. To bring a collection of stories together from around the world brought solidarity, love and hope for the future. Maria gained so much from the experience and will confidently gravitate towards her next curated collection. Maria feels bringing similar stories together, with different perspectives, allows us to gain even greater insights into our human consciousness.

Maria's advice to anyone out there who would like to pursue a similar project is to go for it. Never be afraid of what you don't know... simply go and find out! Everybody is always learning. Good luck!



Anna Hardy, UK (@annahardyphoto); Carole Noronha, Australia (@carolemillsnoronha); Chelsea Abbott, UK (@chelseabbott_) ; Clair Robins, UK (@claircollections) ; Claire French, UK (@_claire_french_) @; Daisy Noyes, USA (@daisynoyesphoto) ; Erica Hawkins, UK (@ericahawkinsphotography) ; Lisha Zulkepli, Malaysia (@lishazulkepli) ; Liv Mann-Tremblay, Canada (@livmanntremblay); Maria Reaney, UK (@maria_reaney) : Patricia Faustino, Portugal (@patriciaphotog) ; Sharron Gibson, UK (@sharrongibsonphoto) ; Sheri Todd, Australia (@sldrphotos) ; Simone Marinho, Brazil (@simonemarinho) ; Sosina Mengistu, Ethiopia (@sosina_mengistu) ; Tobi Asmoucha, Canada (@tobi_asmoucha)


You can keep up-to-date with the exhibition and collection via their Instagram page here.


On Thursday 30 May, Maria will be hosting a series of three one-hour workshops at the Library of Birmingham. The slots will be 11am -12pm, 12pm - 1pm & 1.15pm - 2.15pm. Find out more via her Instagram here and you can book for the workshops here.


Photo credit: Maria Reaney - Billy on sofa, March 2020, Birmingham

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