Ahlam Shibli احلام شبلي

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© Ahlam Shibli

Dom Dziecka. The house starves when you are away

Poland, 2008
series of 35 photographs, 38 x 57.7 cm; 57.7 x 38 cm, gelatine silver prints; chromogenic prints

Dom Dziecka (in English "children's home") is a series of photographs taken in 2008 at eleven orphanages in Poland. The work exposes the living conditions of children who are not growing up in a family home, but in a foster institution.

During the day the children are hardly ever alone; physical relations between them, even adolescent boys and girls, are often very close, without being necessarily sexual in character. The individual children seem to merge into a collective body, from which they withdraw only when going to sleep; the conventional family unit is turned into a children's society in which typical family relations are not only substituted but actually displaced to form a new and specific constellation.

Where the family home is missing, something else has developed. One boy, Dawid Redes from Dom Dziecka Na Zielonym Wzgórzu in Kisielany-Żmichy, said, "it's not a children's home, it's home."