Jake: “I always like being on top, but losing can be fun.”
Theo: “I never let Jake win.”
These responses by the twins Jake and Theo adorn the portraits that were part of photographer Madeleine Waller’s exhibition in the Victoria & Albert Museum of Childhood in London. The twins were among the many siblings who participated in Waller’s art display in 2017. The responses of the participants could be considered the quintessence of all sibling relationships. The photographer captured more such amusing comments and responses of siblings from across ethnicities. The artwork and humour in each portrait took the visitors on a nostalgic journey into their childhood.
Wallace captured the bittersweet bond of siblings by asking them about their brothers and sisters and their role in this love-hate relationship. The responses did the rest to make the exhibition a memorable experience for the visitors.
Talking about her brother, 15-year-old Limamou, another participant of the art display said, “A sibling is like a salad. Sometimes you like it, sometimes you hate it, but it’s always good for you.” Another teenager wished, “I hope I can always fit into her clothes,” whereas a pre-teen, Jasper replied, “I’m the boss because I like telling Ruby what to do.” Everyone who has a sibling can relate to these thoughts. Every picture in the exhibit looks like a vivid reflection from the past, when a sibling was the best friend as well as a sworn enemy.
A sibling relationship is like a very long movie with drama, fighting, love, some more drama, more fighting, but a happy ending with lots of fond memories to cherish. Without brothers and sisters, the journey from adolescence to adulthood, could be termed colourless. Siblings are, simultaneously, partners in crime and a moral compass, a shrink and a Sherpa—they are everything one could ever ask for as a friend. Through this feature, Soulveda pays tribute to the eternal bitter-sweet bond of siblings, the age of innocence and its shared memories. Let’s explore why siblings are the best companions, the rivalries notwithstanding.
Playmates and partners-in-crime
Growing up, the sibling was always the one who knew our secrets. That’s what made them our best friend, who never broke the code. They were our partners-in-crime, and also, our playmates who never tired of running around carefree, whether it was after school or past bedtime—life with a sibling was like a playground. Making castles out of pillows, swords out of broomsticks, capes out of sheets, telephones out of tin cans—every piece of junk was a toy.
Studies have found that younger siblings tend to be more extroverted than older siblings in large families.
Always had each other’s back
No matter who we are up against, siblings always have each other’s back. They give the assurance that one is not alone in this big, bad world.
The funny thing is, outside the walls of the house, they are like protective parents, while back home they turn hunters, hunting each other down. Even as time passes and these shenanigans are a thing of past, they still remain our eternal protectors.