Pictures from Home: for Abdulaziz (2005)

Accompanying Text Reads:

When we told Abdulaziz we were going to Yemen he said, "I've got a wife. I've got a mother. I love them all very much. I want to give them presents but I can't. I obviously have no money; I don't have any access to anything. Would it be possible for you to go and bring gifts to them from me?"

So he became very thoughtful and thought of something specific he wanted for each of his daughters, his wife, and his mother and gave specific instructions for us.

Also, Abdulaziz had told me specific things about his mother. I made sure to put a little note with the gift so that she would know for sure that it was something specific that he said. He told me multiple times that he remembers the saying that his mother used to tell him all the time when he was a kid and would be worried about something, which is, basically, "Don't worry. Someone in the sky is taking care."

Full Description

Pictures from Home: For Abdulaziz (2005/2012)

Excerpt from site-specific installation: Loudon House, Lexington, KY

Pictures from Home is a series of photographs drawn from Herster’s major creative work over the past five years, titled After You’ve Been Burned by Hot Soup You Blow in Your Yogurt. The archive-based work focuses on the complex relationships between detainees at Guantanamo Bay, their attorneys, the international press, and the news-reading public. The multi-media work includes the artist’s archive of over 2000 photographs, videos, texts, and audio documents. The material was collected by Herster and is sourced from attorneys representing suspected terrorists at Guantanamo Bay.

Herster’s project presents Guantanamo through the lens of amateur attorney photographers who, by circumstance, developed deep seeded personal relationships with the men behind Guantanamo’s closed doors. Amateur digital photographers have captured some of the most incisive recent wartime photographs. Created by participants and bystanders, images such as those from terrorist attacks, insurgent videos and protest violence, document inhumanity and serve to propagate divisiveness.

In conjunction with this photographic work, Herster includes personal narratives gathered from the terrorist suspects. These intimate stories tell the tales of detainees with everyday family woes, anxiety over missing loved ones, and longing for familiar landscapes. The Guantánamo Project highlights the power of photography to build trust and facilitate relationships in extreme circumstances of anxiety and isolation.

Work metadata

  • Year Created: 2005
  • Submitted to ArtBase: Wednesday May 30th, 2012
  • Work Credits:
    • mherster, primary creator
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