Mohammed’s prosthetic legs lay on the sofa at his home in the Palestinian refugee camp of Rashidiyeh, in Tyre, southern Lebanon. Mohammed lost both legs when he was sitting behind his father on a motorbike and drove over a cluster bomb near Tyre in the last week of the 2006 Israel-Hezbollah war.
Handicap International says children make up 24% of casualties, and Mohammed is one of many cluster bomb survivor children across the world.
Survivor is a photographic exhibition that focuses on cluster bombs a world problem, as these munitions keep destroying and hurting whole communities for generations to come. Laura Boushnak has been photographing Mohammed for 10 years, following his transition from a child to a young man, his life increasingly becoming harder.
“When I first started the project I focused on young survivors few months following the end of the war. I covered the whole conflict at the time for the French News Agency (AFP). I witnessed how many people, including my own family and close relatives, had to flee their homes and seek refuge. When the war was over, I was taken by the fact that cluster munitions left behind after conflicts kill and injure civilians who are already trying to rebuild their lives. I shifted my focus on Mohammed, whom I have been taking pictures of since 2007. Mohammed, who was 11 at the time, comes from a poor family, which can hardly meet their basic daily needs. He doesn’t go to school anymore and has no job. As days pass, Mohammed’s life is increasingly becoming harder; to a person, whose life’s obstacles were already burdens as a Palestinian refugee living in south Lebanon”.
Laura Boushnak is a Kuwaiti-born Palestinian photographer, whose work focuses on women, literacy and education reform in the Arab world. Boushnak’s documentary project “I Read I Write” explores the role of literacy in improving the lives of Arab women, and the barriers they face to accessing education. As a wire-service photographer, Boushnak’s images have been published in The New York Times, the Guardian, and National Geographic, and her work has been exhibited in galleries and museums around the world. She is also co-founder of RAWIYA, a collective which brings together the work and experience of female photographers from the Middle East.