2001 - 2007
There are just one hundred and nineteen of them. One hundred and nineteen out of four hundred. One hundred and nineteen recovered children, four hundred disappeared children. Just a handful—a handful that demonstrates, that shouts, that denies that the blood can ever be wiped away completely.
These one hundred and nineteen children were recovered despite the sinister plan through which the military dictatorship sought to destroy their identities. They demonstrate that not everything can be hidden, that not everything can be disappeared.
More than four-hundred babies were “disappeared” during the military regime installed on March 24th, 1976. Most of them were kidnapped along with their parents, or were born in one of the clandestine detention centers. To date, it has been possible to locate eighty-seven of them, thanks to the tireless struggle of their families and the support of the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo. Some were given over for adoption to families that were unaware of their real identity, some were simply abandoned. Others were appropriated by the very people that kidnapped their parents. But in all cases there was an attempt to erase their identity, the traces of their blood—so that they could never be like their parents.
I began to photograph these children—today men and women—in august of 2001. I wanted to take portraits of them together with the family members that spent years searching for and recovering them. For me, the union of these two people in one single image represents the failure of the policy of fear that the military dictatorship attempted to impose. These photos attempt to show that the attempts to sever and dissolve family bonds were a failure. The efforts to impose secrecy and fear failed due to the perseverance of their families, as well as the children themselves while they were growing up.
By including a copy of a photograph of the disappeared parents, the two images become a single unit where the past meets the present. This is the essence of photography: the reality of past and present at the same time. The text tells us who they are, what happened to them and how they became who they are today.
The three elements—the text, the photo from the present and the photo from the past—form a triptych that encompasses a part of our history.