February, 2017 – A young girl’s account of her family fleeing Mosul was recreated in a newly liberated section of the city while fighting continued less than a kilometer away.
An art based interview with the girl served as inspiration and art direction for the photo. To ensure her safety, the girl worked with an art therapist inside a child-friendly space provided by the humanitarian organization TdH Italia. She was a new arrival at the Debaga IDP Camp east of Mosul, one of an estimated 450,000 people displaced from their homes and forced to cross frontlines to reach safety.
In her drawing, the girl made no distinction between Islamic State and US-backed Iraqi forces. Both were equal threats to her.
This is my life when we had to leave. They were shooting at us. There were a lot of people running.
(Translated from Arabic text within the girl's drawing)
Toys were bought in local shops and bazaars and cast as the various elements within the girls account - her family, the soldiers, tank, airplane, and bombs.
The toys were taken to Mosul and posed on location in accordance to the girl's account.
During the photo shoot, a Peshmerga soldier rested on his AK47 as he stopped to look through the camera at the toy scene created through the lens. The location and angle were chosen for its cover from snipers.