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Thursday 15 August 2019

Photographers in Idlib

Merna Alhasan talks about a photography exhibition in Idlib.

The exhibition was organised by the Shafak Organisation and sponsored by the Al Karameh Community Centre.

“We’d like to send a message, first as participants in this exhibition, second as people living in Idlib, like the rest of the young men and women here, from different freed areas and those who are currently displaced in Idlib.

“The exhibition’s aim was not just to show pictures by young Syrian men and women. The aim was something greater, to show a positive image to the world.

“It was to give an aesthetic image, to send a message, specifically to Europe,that we exist in this city, and we deserve to live, and that our people are trying to recover by all possible means, regardless of the crises around us, or death looming about.

“We must export a civilised image of the people living here, an image of life, and all that goes with it, an image of the social and family aspects.

“As we can see here, these pictures are not all focused on one thing, some are social, others are related to nature, some show the beautiful character of our civilisation.

“Perhaps they will help refute accusations that Idlib is a source of terrorism, and that it is a city covered in black.

“Around eighty pictures are on show here, by young men and women who wanted to participate. It is a one of a kind event.

“It encourages the talents of many people not able to work in their preferred fields. This competition gave them the space to show the positive side of their work, and the talent they possess. We have seen pictures here that we didn’t expect to exist in Idlib.

“Note that these pictures were not taken with specialist cameras. Most were taken with mobile phones. The pictures show particular aspects that each person wanted to focus on, of what they liked, or wanted to highlight.

“So the purpose of this exhibition is not just as a competition. All the participants here wanted to make their own positive imprint, but the greater aim of this exhibition, for the organisers, and for most of the young people here, was to highlight the positive side of the city we live in, to refute the narrative that is calling most people living here ‘terrorists‘.

“No, we are civilians.

“We are living in our city, and our land. We are the children of this country, and we deserve to live in it.”