Lahden valokuvataide ry

Galleria Uusi Kipinä
Kymintie 1, 15140 Lahti


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Lahden valokuvataide ry:n kutsunäyttely


In November 2013, a Syrian Kurdish refugee community found a new home a thousand miles from the horrors of the civil war.

They settled into ruined houses, abandoned by original inhabitants years ago, in the historical Ottoman district around the Süleymaniye Mosque atop the Istanbul's Third Hill. Once, this neighbourhood was a perfect place to live. Today, it’s abandoned and in ruins. New inhabitants have settled—Syrian refugees.

With limited language skills and missing official refugee documents, it’s hard, almost impossible, to apply for work. Men spend days hanging around, drinking tea, watching TV and smoking cigarettes. Woman do laundry, cook and take care of the youngest children while older kids play or beg on the streets. As they speak only Kurdish, they can’t attend to a Turkish school.

Kindhearted locals bring food and clothes to refugees, helping them to survive. But life stands still. A TV in the corner of a small room and calls from relatives left still in Syria, tell a hopeless story of the war.

Esa Ylijaasko spent four years documenting the life of a Syrian refugee community in Süleymaniye neighbourhood in Istanbul, Turkey in 2013-2017. One story of refugees has become to the end and new journey ahead on Spring 2017 when government of Turkey cleared Syrian refugees out of the Süleymaniye neighbourhood. Syrians exiles out of the city to find new home to settle. 'November is a beginning' is the first chapter of world's biggest refugee crisis.

Ylijaasko’s work has been photographed on black and white superior instant film. Through the use of negative he creates distinct pictures from the dirt and scratches of environment. Touch of Syrians shows their identity and rain drops give a feeling of weather on the pictures.

(c)Esa Ylijaasko