Exhibition design & Production in Amsterdam: Tiago Rosado (Paradox)
The war in Syria demolished major parts of the city of Aleppo. Public buildings, apartment blocks and shops are bombed and looted, sometimes leaving personal belongings scattered through the streets.
One morning in 2015, Syrian photographer Issa Touma found the remains of a collection of glass plates, negatives and prints from a photo studio in Al Qassab Street, made between the 1920s and 1970s. This archive was the starting point for the project Studio Aleppo, Picturing (new) European Citizens.
Studio Aleppo is a pop-up photo studio, where ‘old’ residents of a city and recently arrived refugees are invited to have their portrait taken by a prominent photographer. As a welcoming gesture, citizens of the city pay for two portraits: their own and a newcomers’ portrait. The photos are added to an evolving collection of (new) European citizens, to be displayed side by side in a portrait gallery, online as well as in a local or national newspaper. Through photographing newcomers and locals in a similar way and including them in a collection of portraits, the project aims to stimulate a feeling of recognition and inclusion.
Studio Aleppo has been organized in Amsterdam, Helsinki, Berlin and The Hague. The website studioaleppo.eu brings together the stories of (new) European citizens. Based on quotes from the interviews with participants you can uncover common ground between yourself and them.