During my time at Paradox/Ydoc I had the privilege to participate a bit on this project that now has been released. Now in its fifth year, the Syrian conflict has killed hundreds of thousands of civilians and left half of the population displaced. Aleppo, the largest metropolis in the country and one of the oldest human settlements in the world, is at risk of disappearing. Ongoing battles between government forces, opposition rebels and radical Islamist militants have severely damaged the city’s architectural fabric and will soon destroy what remains of its essence as a centre of intellectual activity and cross- cultural dialogue. The original number of inhabitants has shrunk from 2.7 million to an estimated 1.2 million in the Assad-controlled western zone and 500,000 in the east.
About Issa Touma
Issa Touma, a photographer, cultural animator and founder of Le Pont gallery, has devoted himself to preserving Aleppo’s urban culture. In 2012, he initiated Art Camping. A collaborative programme in the form of workshops, it attempts to counter the violence of the conflict by encouraging young people from various religious and ethnic backgrounds to express themselves through art and culture.
Women We Have Not Lost Yet and other stories from Aleppo brings together Touma’s visual work and some of the outcomes of Art Camping. Also featured is the video 9 DAYS – From My Window in Aleppo, edited by Floor van der Meulen and Thomas Vroege, and Mini Opera – A Postcard from Aleppo, composed by Merlijn Twaalfhoven to a libretto by Abdelkader Benali.
The exhibition pays tribute to those who still live in the ruined city, struggling to hold on to hope amid the horrors of war.
The publication Women We Have Not Lost Yet, designed by Kummer & Herrman, portrays 15 young women who took refuge in Le Pont gallery during the ‘Great Attack’ by radical Islamists in April 2015. The stories, recorded by Touma on video and in photographs, are a cry for freedom from the women Syria has not lost yet – to death, exile or oppression.
Revenues from the sale of the book, which was realised with the generous support of various partners, will be shared with Art Camping. Order online via YdocStore (http://ydocfoundation.org/women-we-have-not-lost-yet/)