06 October 2012

Issa Touma: Photo Festival in Time of War

 "It's almost an impossible situation but we wanted to go on 
because if we don't go on people will lose hope." 
~ Issa Touma.

Among the very first posts I wrote for this blog were several about a remarkable man - Syrian photographer and gallery owner Issa Touma (pictured above in an undated and unattributed photo). The issue then - half a dozen years ago - was persistent government interference with Touma's own work and with the photo festival he coordinates in his home city Aleppo. Of course, Aleppo has been in the news lately as the site of fighting between the troops of Assad regime and Free Syrian Army.  Yesterday CNN ran this report about Touma's efforts to mount the exhibition again this year despite the civil war going on around him. The festival web page is here. Even more impressive is that Touma is promoting "art camping," an attempt to bring culture and art and not just the basic necessities to people displaced by the war.

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