Vivien Allender



Global T(w)eens Project

Here Is Our Future. The Global T(w)eens Project portrays over 500 unique 11-14 year-olds from 36 countries and explores universality through individuality.

The Global T(w)eens Project is an ongoing artistic investigation that portrays 11-14 year-olds across the globe. Observing the sensitivities of these subjects through posture, gesture, gaze, attitude and clothing, I document this young layer

of our society, between childhood and adolescence, from places that may seem different and distant from one another. I have chosen to shoot the subjects on neutral backgrounds, intentionally removing indicators of location and making each less easy to identify. As the inhabitants of an increasingly globalized world the work in this series intends to remove borders and raise questions about individuality vs. universality.

So far, I have shot over 500 portraits in 36 countries across six continents including Norway, Australia, Pakistan, Italy, Kuwait, Hong Kong, Colombia, Russia, Ghana, India and Japan to name some.

Name: Vivien Allender

Country of origin and where do you live now: Australia. New York.

Profession: Photographer/Educator


Insta: @vivienallenderphoto

Facebook: N/A

What is art?

Art moves you. Art uniquely expresses an awareness of what is around us. Art opens our minds to new perspectives and makes us think about issues in a new way.

Describe your personality

Curious, resilient, intuitive, self-effacing.

How did you get your start with art?

There is no linear narrative to my process of engaging with art but multiple varied influences over my life.

Where do you gather inspiration?

I get inspiration from anywhere, anything, any and all of the time. From travel and different cultures I experience and the people I meet.

What Gets You Out of Bed In The Morning?

My chai :)

Tell us about a moment in your career that really meant something to you?

Seeing my first billboard which was totally Times Square-but the wrong Times Square.My first published Vogue article.

What two questions would you ask to get the most information about who a person truly is?

1.What’s your motto? 2.What’s the biggest mistake you ever made?

Do you have a mission with your art?

To represent teens/tweens worldwide without borders, without judgement and to illuminate that all kids everywhere have the same hopes and dreams and they are our future.

What is the process like for you when creating?

I am lost in a meditative state/ in the zone.

What is the future for art in your opinion?

Art is always evolving and can be influenced by the unpredictability of life itself. Art is vital to human experience.

What was your childhood dream job?

To write and to do anything that allowed me to travel.

What was the first thing you ever created and how do you feel about it now?

I can’t name one thing and ’create’ is open to broad interpretation. As a kid I created all kinds of things, as a teen I took photos that I am indifferent to. I sometimes come across things I wrote as a teenager too and that mostly makes me laugh.

How was your exposure to art growing up?

I was exposed to design more than the fine arts. My first real exposure to fine art was in art class at school.

Do you have any art in your house now?

Of course.

Who were your early influences?

The Post Impressionists, British music, European cinema, Bowie.

Did you assist?


Do you have a secret project?

Yes but if I told you what it was it wouldn’t be a secret anymore)) It’s more a B project than a secret project. It deals with ephemeral themes, the same broad area of fascination as my Global T(w)eens Project, but in a very different way.

What artist and their works never tire you?

Irving Penn’s west African portraits, Shoji Ueda-various works (Japanese photographer), Hiroshi Sugimoto - his Theaters, Seascapes, Lightning works etc. In music-Sigur Ros

What harsh truths do you prefer to ignore?

Many. Photographing kids for my project lets me focus on a positive element of the world at large, away from the chaos of the world. I suppose I also ignore the fact that surviving as an artist is tough.

Where is the line between art and not art to you?

People can be very dismissive about what is and what isn’t art. It’s not up to me to decide what is and is not art but for me personally art should touch me in some way. But if it doesn’t touch me it doesn’t mean it’s not art.

What should be the goal of humanity?

No judgement, respect and kindness to one another, consistent evolution and altruism.

Does art hurt society in any way?

Art reflects our world so it can be perceived as hurting society in that it holds up a mirror to society. In some societies art is censored out of fear it will reveal too much.

What do you contribute back to society?

I share my knowledge with students and encourage them to see and think differently. Small steps. I give the kids in my project a chance to be seen and to be part of a global project and to hopefully think about worlds outside of their own.

What is the most important goal every person should have?

To make a positive impact on the world.

How replaceable are you?

No person is replaceable. I am unique and special and so is everyone else. Perhaps we are disposable, but never replaceable.

How do you define consciousness?

To be awake, aware, sentient and self-reflective.

Are there limits to human creativity?

It’s limitless

Has social media been positive or negative for our society? Why?

Both. On the positive side it has democratized the world. Anyone anywhere can be an artist and have a forum to show their art. It connects people around the world and offers an equal, (but never impartial) forum for all to have an opinion. On the negative side triviality has been made important, manipulators have unlimited audiences, we have lost our privacy. We have lost human connection in favour of digital connection. It has reduced conversation to monosyllables. It has made things fast but not thoughtful.

What does the fusion of fashion and art mean to you in regard to your work?

Fashion, or at least the clothing we wear, is the first entry point into creative self-expression for many of us at a young age. Fashion is integral to the impact of the Global Tweens Project as these 11-14 year-olds are absolutely expressing who they are by their choice of dress.