Iraqi Kurdish photographer Jamal Penjweny's portrait series I Wish reveals the unfulfilled childhood dreams of rural Middle Eastern residents. Each person in the series holds up a picture of a famed athlete engaging in their mastered activity, showcasing a desired level of sports stardom. Penjweny's subjects, however, have not had the opportunity to achieve their ambitious, athletic goals due to various reasons.
From a successful tennis player and basketball star to a celebrated martial artist and decorated Olympic athletes, each image that the people in Penjweny's portraits display represent a wish to become something greater. Unfortunately, all were met with setbacks in the form of physical injury or poverty.
A one-legged man, standing on crutches, holds up a photo of renowned soccer player Diego Maradona while another man at work, selling gasoline off a donkey carriage, grips onto a photo of a Ferrari race car driver. Each case is a tale of unattained dreams. Penjweny says, “Life is not like animation, you cannot paint anything you want. I made this project to give one moment when dreams can become reality, so each person can act out their dream even if they cannot fulfill it in real life.”