Away from the war and destruction, Syrian photographer Iyad al-Jroud pointed the lens of his camera to Syria's children; to convey some hope in a generation that is the single largest victim in Syria.
Dozens of images of children from the Dar es Salaam orphans' residence were on display in the exhibition called Oyoun wa Hakaya [Eyes and Stories] which opened on Wednesday and runs through Saturday the 13th of the current month of June; in a step that aims to extend support to the residence—among other goals.
On this subject, al-Jroud tells Rozana: "Camp children are frequently visted by a multitude of journalists and photographers, who snap their pictures and disappear. I aimed to take children's pictures for them to come see them; rather than ask themselves "Who is it that took our pictures? Why are they taking our pictures?"
A Focus on Hope
The exhibition is held in collaboration with the French Agency for Media Cooperation, in the Syrian Media Incubator Center in Gaziantep, Turkey. On its first day, it witnessed a huge presence of many Syrians living in the region. Its images were characterized by the artist's focus on the vocabulary of hope, and the smiles of children; the cadres focus on abundance of photographed blocs, and display a glimpse of life—despite the tragedies.
It seems clear, that the author of the film "Lovers Scrapbooks on Sarakeb's Walls," steers clear from images of pain, and tragedy. He explains that he does not aim to recycle children's pain or see themselves as being sad; adding: "I'm trying to sow some joy in the children or other people watching these images. Negativity will not help, nor will it make children happy; positivity, on the other hand, may help produce a better tomorrow."
Dar es-Salaam: Inadequate Support!
The Dar es Salaam residence for orphans is located near the Turkish city of Neyzab, and is home to fifty Syrian children who lost their parents due to the war in their country. The exhibition's attempt seems important, as its proceeds are dedicated to Dar es Salaam.
Oyoun wa Hakaya also aims to convey the status of those children. On this issue, the residence Director, Manar Kara-Damour tells Rozana: "This exhibition serves as a showcase of our organization to any potential sponsor wishing to learn about the residence. For two years now, it has relied on donations—but may not have been very visible to the public. This exhibition, is an excellent step to do so."
99 images of Syrian orhpans residents of the orphanage, carried a gamut of meanings, conveying as best as possible their conditions and bringing to the Syrians who attended the show many of their messages.
One of the exhibition vistors expresses his opinion: "The individual images were wonderful; but the most striking images were the ones where there are more than one person." Another added: "The exhibition brings something new—especially as it takes a perspective different than that of blood and destruction, and seeks to deliver its ideas through the children and their silence."
On the show also, a Syrian lady tells Rozana: "While it is true that there are children under bombardment in Syria, there also are children who possess hope and optimism. Iyad always tries to focus on the positive aspects of the Syrian Revolution; Revolution is not death, murder, and destruction. There is a lot that is positive in Syria; but unfortunately, no one seems to highlight it."
This then is—as simple as it may seem—an important intitiative to fifty Syrian children who lost their parents in the war. The proceeds of this exhibition will fully benefit them, in the absence of any attention by many Syrian and international authorities to their affairs.