Didem Doğan

15th Istanbul Biennial, ‘A Good Neighbor’: Adel Abdessemed’s Cri

The story behind this art work. How did the photograph of a little girl running from napalm bombs become a symbol of the war? ‘The Girl in the picture’: a legendary picture taken by a Pulitzer winning photographer; it has become an image in the collective consciousness of the whole world. The story behind it is quite interesting. During the Vietnam war the international agencies which reported the war were based in Saigon. Their foreign representatives were not directly involved in the war as embedded army photographers but they rather employed locals as photographers in war zones. One of them, Nick Ut, on 8th of June 1972, was in the war zone the whole day waiting and took this picture of villagers who were running away from the napalm bombs. This little girl who lived in Trang bang village (Kim Phuc) and her family are running away form the temple they were hiding to another safer place; she looses two cousins in the attack, her body burns and she’s screaming “too hot”; the picture is on the headlines the next day on New York Times and makes an impact on everyone. Adel Abdessemed’s work Cri (2013) takes this image and in the form of this single material sculpture becomes frozen in time.

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