The Exhibition “Bir Mekân, Bir Hikâye/مكان و حكاية”, A Place and a Story, opens on September 17 in Istanbul. The exhibition is organized within the framework of the Stewards of Cultural Heritage Project (SoCH).
“Bir Mekân, Bir Hikâye/مكان و حكاية” (a place and a story) are two of many words that have the same meaning in both Arabic and Turkish. They illustrate the close connection between the two cultures and neighbours, and they were chosen as a programmatic title of this exhibition which aims to show Syria as the Syrians remember it by focusing on people’s memories and their relationships with cultural heritage. Syria is a country full of treasures and surprises. Similar to Turkey, it hosts one of the world’s most comprehensive and long-lasting cultural heritage records. However, as it is well known, it has been going through difficult times and experienced many losses. Fortunately, this is not the only thing that stays in the Syrians’ memories.
The exhibition “Bir Mekân, Bir Hikâye/ مكان و حكاية” aims to raise curiosity and knowledge on Syria and Syrian cultural heritage. It is organized within the framework of the Stewards of Cultural Heritage Project (SoCH) of the Istanbul Department of the German Archaeological Institute (DAI). The exhibition uses archival photos from the collections of DAI, the Museum of Islamic Art in Berlin and the Max Freiherr von Oppenheim Foundation as well as from private collections. It is intended to show the importance of archival materials, especially in times of conflict as they can play an essential role as a memory trigger and as a starting point for the implementation of various projects to protect cultural heritage.
For the purpose of this exhibition, people from different parts of Syria living in Turkey and elsewhere were interviewed. They were shown photographs and asked to talk about what they remember. In doing so, the archival photographs, mostly documenting monumental structures and cultural heritage sites, were matched with the testimonies of daily lives. By combining the monuments and sites with people’s stories, the exhibition aims to show the devastating impact of the conflicts in Syria on both human life and cultural heritage.
SoCH is a project by the Istanbul Department of the German Archaeological Institute (DAI), which aims to help safeguarding Syrian cultural heritage through capacity building of Syrian heritage specialists who are currently residing in Turkey. The project is a part of the „Stunde Null – A Future for the Time after the Crisis“-project under the umbrella of the Archaeological Heritage Network. It has started in 2016 and has been supported by the German Federal Foreign Office and the Gerda Henkel Foundation. Most of the photos used in the exhibition were digitized and archived within the Syrian Heritage Archives Project (SHAP), launched by the DAI and the Museum of Islamic Art in Berlin in 2013.
Date: Tuesday, September 17, 2019 at 18:00.
Location: Kadir Has Üniversitesi, Cibali – İstanbul, 34083 / Türkiye