Open Shutters Iraq
Various - 10 May to 15 June 2012
Continuing its interest in supporting participatory and socially engaged photography, Belfast Exposed will exhibit Open Shutters Iraq, an exhibition of nine photographic essays and texts, made by women from Baghdad, Basra, Falluja, Kirkuk and Mosul, examining lived experience of war and occupation. Through tales of sanctions, siege, intifada, grief, love, resistance and small triumphs, Open Shutters Iraq goes behind sensational news headlines, to offer a unique insight into the private worlds, everyday struggles of Iraqi people.
Frustrated by the lack of journalistic access to ordinary people, particularly women, living in Iraq, photographer Eugenie Dolberg worked with academic Irada Zaydan, to identify a number of journalists who would in turn find women outside of the public forum to partner and support for the duration of the project. Participants from a range of social and political backgrounds and with no previous photographic experience became engaged in the project. Over a 3 week period, in the city of Damascus, nine women were trained in photography and writing by Dolberg, before returning to Iraq to use photography to reflect on the effect of conflict upon their lives. Despite death threats, militia kidnappings, bombings, curfews, and border closures, each of the women returned to Damascus for a 5-day workshop to edit the material they had shot. The resulting exhibition, Open Shutters Iraq is a testament to the agency and bravery of a group of women who refused to be made silent and invisible by the horror of war.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a series of talks, screenings and workshops. It is supported by Arts Council Northern Ireland and Belfast City Council.