IWM North in Syria conflict
Part of IWM’s Conflict Now programme, the season will include Syria: Story of a Conflict, an intimate display exploring the origins, escalations and impact of the Syria conflict.
This exhibition will sit alongside Sergey Ponomarev: A Lens on Syria, an extensive series of photographs addressing the consequences of the Syria conflict by award-winning Russian documentary photographer Sergey Ponomarev.
Syria: Story of a Conflict
16 February until 28 May 2018
Syria: Story of a Conflict will present an intimate display exploring the origins, escalations and impact of the Syria conflict. The display, co-curated by IWM and Christopher Philips, Reader of International Relations of the Middle East at Queen Mary University, will include a selection of objects which explore the narrative of the conflict alongside an installation film helping to explain the story of the conflict.
The ongoing Syria conflict, which began in 2011, has already lasted longer than World War II. As a result of the conflict, nearly half a million people have been killed, more than eleven million – half the pre-war population – have been forced from their homes and a country lies in ruins. This is more than a civil war between Syrians as foreign involvement, whether from other countries or non-state militants like ISIS, has turned Syria into a battleground for wider rivalries.
A ‘war of narratives’ pushed by different players can make accurate information difficult to ascertain, while simplified explanations in the media further obscure the picture. The exhibition will seek to provide a balanced and objective introduction to Syria’s complex conflict, and endeavours to explain how a country, once known for its relative stability, has been shattered by war.
Syria: Story of a Conflict will be divided into three main sections. The first will present the narrative of the conflict through a small selection of representative objects. These objects, some of which have recently derived from Syria, point to the tragic and complex nature of the conflict.
The subsequent section of the exhibition will present a new installation film, produced by Liminal in collaboration with IWM, which tells the story of the Syria conflict. The final section of the exhibition will present the personal stories of Syrians from all walks of life who have been impacted by the conflict. More than eleven million Syrians have been forced from their homes, fleeing the fighting or other hardships caused by war. With a focus on the military and political aspects of the crisis, the human stories are often lost. The personal stories presented in the exhibition include those from Syrian refugees now residing in both Europe and Syria’s neighbouring countries, civilians who have remained in Syria as well as internally displaced people.
Sergey Ponomarev: A Lens on Syria
16 February until 28 May 2018
IWM North will stage Sergey Ponomarev: A Lens on Syria, an exhibition of photographs by award-winning Russian documentary photographer Sergey Ponomarev. The exhibition, comprising of a mix of colour prints and digital media, will explore the human consequences of the Syria conflict and its connection to the European refugee crisis of 2015.
Sergey Ponomarev: A Lens on Syria will feature more than 60 photographs, a number of which will go on public display in the North of England for the first time, selected from two award-winning bodies of work by Ponomarev. It will consider the role of factors, such as official access controls, in shaping international understanding of the Syria conflict. The exhibition will be presented in two sections, Assad’s Syria and The Exodus.
I Swear to Tell the Truth
15 March – 27 May 2018
If Vietnam was the first conflict on television, Syria is the first on YouTube. The number of minutes uploaded exceeds the number of real-time minutes which have passed since the conflict began on 15 March 2011. Every day, this number rises as the vicious conflict creeps onward, but does the quantity of material available mean we understand what is happening on the ground any better?
The award-winning creative collective Anagram invite visitors to IWM North to actively and intimately think about how to make sense of what we hear from Syria. Taking evidence from specific events during the battle of Aleppo in late 2016, this experience asks: is confusion a weapon being used to stop the international community from acting; who controls the fog of war?
From exposing the algorithms of media moguls to grappling with our cloudy internal prejudice, I Swear to Tell the Truth is a thought-provoking experience inviting you to inspect how social and information networks have affected your perception of the world we live in, and your place in it.
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