Dziecka is a series of photographs taken in 2008 in eleven orphanages,
Dom Dziecka [childrenís home], in Poland. The work exposes the living
conditions of children who donít grow up in a family home but in
a foster institution.
When looking at the hundreds of photos
from which the pictures of Dom Dziecka were chosen, some unexpected
discoveries were made: during the day the children are hardly ever
alone; physical relations between the children, even adolescent
boys and girls, often are very close, without being sexual in character
Ė common feelings of shyness related to the adolescentís gender
seem to be absent; the individual children seem to merge into a
collective body, from which they withdraw only when regressing into
sleep; the conventional family unit is turned into a childrenís
society in which typical family relations are not only substituted
but actually displaced to form a new and specific social body.
Where the family home is missing something else has developed. One
boy, Dawid Redes from Dom Dziecka w Kisielanach, said itís not a
Childrenís Home, itís home.
Ahlam Shibli would like to thank
all the individuals and institutions that helped to make this work
possible. A very special word of gratitude and appreciation is due
to everyone who allowed their photograph to be taken and published.