In April 2013, Palestinian artist Samar Hazboun released a Detained, a series of photographs of Palestinian child detainees and their families. The series, based on the photographer’s original research, pairs images of children in their homes or communities with short summaries of their experiences in detention. When a child is not available to be photographed, usually because of death or continued detention, Hazboum documents his absence with an image of the interior of the family home.
The photographs in Detained dialogue with an indigenous local medium: politicized collages of young men killed or imprisoned by Israeli forces. Such works pair a quotidian photograph of a man or boy with images Palestinian national symbols such as the Dome of the Rock. These collages are posted online and wheat-pasted on public walls in many Palestinian communities. In one of her images, Hazboun poses a formerly detained Palestinian boy with a collage of the subject’s deceased cousin. In another image, Hazboun photographs a mother holding a collage of her detained son.
Unlike such collages, Hazboum’s work is not explicitly nationalistic. The boys and families photographed in the Detained series have not been subsumed into a broader political statement. Each of Hazboum’s images provides a glimpse into an individual experience of child detention and its aftermath in the West Bank.
The Detained series, as well as Samar Hazboum’s other work, can be viewed here.