This book brings together photographs found or taken by Helen Zout on the marks left on survivors and victims’ families by the disappearances of people during Argentina’s last military dictatorship between 1976 and 1983.
The parents of the disappeared (especially mothers) were the first to organise themselves in the desperate search for their children, risking their lives (many mothers were murdered for these activities). The former detainees who disappeared – yesterday’s protagonists, today’s witnesses – were direct victims of State Terrorism which used kidnapping, torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment as a means.
Between 25,000 and 30,000 people have disappeared, 2,000 to 3,000 of whom have been released from the 360 clandestine detention centres scattered throughout the country.
During their captivity, the detainees were blinded and therefore could not see the faces of the other victims, nor those of the killers. As a result of the laws of impunity and remission of sentence, the executioners enjoy their freedom, and thus tortured and tortur-ed can pass each other in the street without knowing it.
Today, parents of the missing, former detainees and children of the missing work, study, educate their children, while conducting interminable research to elucidate issues: Where do we come from? Who are we? Why are we alive? Survivors will bear the indelible marks of disappearance for the rest of their lives.
The photographs made and collected by Helen Zout synthesize this passage through questions, reflection, doubts, answers, uncertainties and brings together a useful process of research and investigation.
ABOUT HELEN ZOUT
Helen Zout was born in 1957 in Argentina. In 1989 she was awarded a National Arts Foundation Award and in 2002 a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship. Her photographic work is closely related to social and mental health issues. The theme of the Disappearances of the last military dictatorship in Argentina, from which this book is derived, was declared of national interest by the General Secretariat of the Presidency of the Republic in 2005. His works are part of numerous private and public collections (Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, Museum of Modern Art in Buenos Aires, National Museum of Fine Arts of Argentina, etc.).
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