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‘Voices from Refugee Communities’ exhibit showcases power of storytelling through frames

By Tanya Raghu - May 14,2023 - Last updated at May 14,2023

Photographer Namarig Yagoob Jadeen stands in front of her work displayed as part of the Image Festival Amman at the Società Dante Alighieri on Thursday (Photo courtesy of Silvia Mazzocchin/JRS Jordan)

AMMAN — Recognising the power of images to tell the stories of refugees, photography institute Darat Al Tasweer and the Jesuit Refugee Service Jordan (JRS) celebrated the opening of the exhibition, “Voices from Refugee Communities” on Thursday. 

The collaboration began last November with 17 participants who took a course about the basics of photography. From this group, selected individuals went onto an advanced training on documentary photography and photo stories. 

“We worked with 10 participants as an advanced training to do a storytelling project with a purpose to create a photo story,” founder of Darat Al Tasweer and festival organiser Linda Al Khoury said. 

“As the festival was coming, we suggested that it would be nice to exhibit their work, so we linked their projects with the festival.” 

Hosted at the Società Dante Alighieri, the evening celebrated the work of the seven selected photographers from Sudan, Central African Republic and Syria. 

“Through those pictures, they were capable not only to do a technical thing, but also, to show real life and real existence and the deepest feelings of people and show different traditions and cultures in a very expressive way,” JRS Country Director Tariq Rezeqallah said. 

Among the photographers included Namarig Yagoob Jadeen, a Sudanese refugee who has lived in Jordan since 2014. Previously, Jadeen studied medicine in her home country until the third year of the programme. However, her studies were interrupted when her family was forced to flee due to war. Her photography project focuses on marriage rituals in Sudan known as “Jertiq”. 

“I wanted to highlight the traditions of Sudan because some people forget about their traditions when they move to Jordan as refugees,” Jadeen said. “I did this project because I want to make sure this doesn’t go extinct.” 

Aligning with this year’s annual theme, “roots” the various projects document traditions and customs ranging from wedding rituals, traditional hand-made bags and folk dances. 

“It gives me a feeling of happiness and satisfaction because the goal of this event is to show the reality of the people and get in touch with human beings and listen to people,” Rezeqallah said. 

Another photo collection included the work of 19 year-old university student Abeer Zakaria Ishaq Kafe from Sudan, who was born in Jordan. Her project centres on the dance “Kerang”, which is a traditional folk dance from the Nuba people. 

“Not all people know about this dance, so I want more people in Jordan to know about this tradition,” Kafe said. “My family does this dance at home.” 

The “Voices from Refugee Communities” is one of many exhibitions of the 11th edition of the Image Festival Amman. The photographs will continue to be displayed at the Società Dante Alighieri until the end of the month. 

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