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Upcoming Photo Exhibit Explores Violent Themes of Beloved Nursery Rhymes

Noted photographer Nilangana "Olive" Banerjee prepares to present her photo exhibit "Lullaby." (Publicity Photo)

LOS ANGELES, Calif. – The violent and sometimes sexual themes of beloved nursery rhymes are examined in the upcoming photo exhibit “Lullaby,” from noted photographer Nilangana "Olive" Banerjee, set to tour next year.

“I learned long ago that these nursery rhymes that we’re all familiar with are very violent and very disturbing and really not suitable for children,” Banerjee said. “I want to expose that reality to parents and everyone that cares for children that these quaint rhymes are not good for kids. They were not really meant for them, but are now a part of our cultural fabric.”

Project, set to begin its national tour in Los Angeles this winter, features Banerjee’s original photographs depicting her personal take on such nursery rhymes as “Georgie Porgie,” “Lucy Locket,” “Baa Baa Black Sheep,” “Rock a Bye Baby,” “Jack and Jill,” “Little Bo Peep,” and many others. To see a glimpse of some the photos, visit

“Georgie Porgie,” features a fearful young girl who tries to run away from a menacing older man who has grabbed her by the arm, while “Little Bo Peep,” shows a young woman joyously holding a sheepskin that used to belong to a young sheep. The image of “Jack and Jill” is particularly dark as it depicts a harsh stepmother berating Jack and Jill after they’ve fallen and injured themselves.

“All of these stories depict adult themes that would adversely impact young children. Take Georgie Porgie, who terrorizes under-age girls through sexual harassment and more,” she said. “It glorifies the influence of patriarchy and gender inequality, which is still prevalent in contemporary society, but it also reflects how women are considered the weaker sex and cannot possibly revolt against any cruelty without the help of a man.”

Even the nursery rhyme “Little Bo Peep,” demonstrates a contempt for animals, even those that serve us: “It teaches us about having intense indifference and disregard for the other beings,” she said. “The shepherdess shows lack of concern for her lost sheep and when the sheep were dead, instead of being compassionate, she shows extreme apathy.”

Born in Mumbai, India, Banerjee always had a passion for photography, thanks to her father’s love for photography. She soon found herself photographing everything that she could, ultimately earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Photography then moving to to the United States where she earned her Masters in Fine Arts, then pursuing a career in commercial photography.

Today, Olive, as her friends call her, is among the most respected commercial and corporate photographers in the country, focusing primarily in her specialized fields of architecture/interiors and industrial/corporate photography. Her clients have included Sheraton Hotels, celebrity chef Debb Michail, Lexicon Media and many others.

For more on Nilangana “Olive” Banerjee, please visit

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