‘Living Aleppo’ is an interactive outdoor exhibition to convey to the Dutch public the consequences of years of war in Syria, focusing on the destruction in Aleppo. The exhibition revolves around the stories of several individuals who stayed behind during the bombings in Aleppo and survived the violence, including a physician, a journalist, a teacher, a professor…
The fighting in Syria, which started as an uprising against Assad, has been going on for over six years now and has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives. Over 11 million Syrians have fled. Cities have been completely destroyed. Years of cruel battles over the Syrian city of Aleppo have ended, leaving Aleppo entirely in ruins. The UN previously expressed serious concern about the citizens of Aleppo. In addition to worrying about them, the UN deplores the destruction of the city. “In East Aleppo buildings are bombed out, destruction is everywhere, with bullet holes in the walls where tens of thousands once lived, until the bombs tore everything apart,” reports the UN.
“I am aware that the war in Syria may seem very remote. We have seen reports of atrocities for years. The longer it drags on, the further away the solution gets. This stopped being a civil war a while ago and has escalated to an international conflict involving a great many players, from Russia to Turkey, from the United States to the Gulf States. It shows the failure of the international community: we stood there and watched.”
(Olaf Koens / RTL Nieuws)
We want to make the consequences of living in a warzone visible and understandable. We show that daily routines remain, but days are filled with fear and it is unclear who and what to trust. We want to challenge the audience to think about their role in this story. That is why we use the method of visual storytelling: an effective way to make difficult subjects more accessible. An image tells so much more then a thousand of words.
The exhibition raises questions such as: how can Aleppo become a city again? The city needs to be rebuilt. Buildings, as well as trust. Trust between the people needs to be restored. These people have been shooting at each other for years and will have to learn to coexist again.
The conflict in Syria is very complicated, as many different parties are at war against each other. We will therefore focus mainly on the personal stories, adding a timeline and data about attacks and victims. We will not make any political statements.
We have been working together with people who lived in Aleppo during the war and who wanted to share their experiences with us. Those stories we used as the guiding principle for the scenery’s we created. Stories from civilians, relief workers, physicians, teachers etc. Stories that are a slice of life. These personal stories inspire the scenes in the exposition. Besides we also spoke with Middle East experts to get a grip on the factual information.
Online you can find sound fragments, video’s and short interviews plus background information regarding the timeline. These stories will be available online via sound bites, videos and brief interviews. Background information about the events depicted in the exhibition will be elaborated, such as drone scenes and a detailed timeline.
Op bovenstaande video is te zien hoe de universiteit van Aleppo op 13 januari 2013 gebombardeerd werd.