Grantee: VII Academy sup­ports Sirkhane Darkroom for Syrian Refugees

Written on March 29, 2020, posted in Grantee

Participants of Sirkhane Darkroom posing with cameras during the workshop. ©Serbest Salih

Ongoing
Presenter: Serbest Salih

In the Southeast of Turkey, a small mobile dark­room shines a light in the lives of chil­dren dis­placed by the Syrian con­flict. Run by pho­tog­ra­ph­er Serbest Salih, him­self a Syrian refugee, Sirkhane DARKROOM is a pho­tog­ra­phy school cur­rent­ly sit­u­at­ed in Mardin Istasyon, an imporver­ished neigh­bour­hood in the city of Nusaybin. The chil­dren in the pro­gram use inex­pen­sive com­pact film cam­eras to doc­u­ment their lives, and learn how to devel­op and print in the dark­room.

Always need­ing to fundraise for chem­i­cals and equip­ment to sus­tain the pro­gram, Serbest runs the oper­a­tion on a shoe­string. At the VII Academy we sup­port his endeav­ors to train the next gen­er­a­tion of young pho­tog­ra­phers, skilled at telling the tales of those around them and bring­ing to light the real­i­ty of lives inter­rupt­ed and dis­placed by con­flict. Serbest writes, “Photography as a ped­a­gog­ic method, enables chil­dren to first of all know them­selves bet­ter. It is an incred­i­ble and effec­tive method of teach­ing chil­dren com­ing from dif­fi­cult con­di­tions, new ways of think­ing, cre­ativ­i­ty and being play­ful while expand­ing their per­spec­tive of their sur­round­ings.”

Image courtesy Sirkhane Darkroom.
Image cour­tesy Sirkhane Darkroom.

During one of the work­shops, a child who attend­ed work­shop for the first time had a rev­e­la­tion. As he put a pho­to paper into a chem­i­cal tub, pho­to­graph start­ed show­ing up and he start­ed say­ing ‘Bismillah’ because he thought it was mag­ic.

Since the project began in 2017, over 350 children–Turkish, Kurdish, Arab, Syrian, Iraqi–have attend­ed work­shops. Currently there are 17 girls and 14 boys par­tic­i­pat­ing. Girls typ­i­cal­ly are not allowed to freely come and go out of the house, but after par­ents see the results of the work­shop and how tal­ent­ed the stu­dents are, they sup­port their daugh­ters attend­ing. The chil­dren become the “fam­i­ly pho­tog­ra­phers,” tak­ing pho­tographs of their par­ents or sib­lings when­ev­er some­one needs a por­trait for offi­cial doc­u­men­ta­tion.

Student Work

All images below were tak­en by par­tic­i­pants of Sirkhane Darkroom.

  • Photo by Nevafhe, a 12 year old boy from Qamislo Syria. (Photograph of his broth­er)

  • Photo by Ibrahim, a 12 year old from Alhasaka, Syria. (Life in vil­lage)

  • Photo by Ayse, a 9 year old from Mardin, Turkey. (Portrait of her friend)

  • Photo by Hala, a 13 year old from Aleepo, Syria. (Photograph of her shad­ow)

  • Photo by Ibrahim, a 13 year old from Alhasaka, Syria. (Photograph of a toy car, made dur­ing a pho­to­shoot with his broth­ers)

  • Photo by Aya, a 10 years old girl from Derbasiye. (Photo of her father inside their house)

  • Photo by Welid, a 12 year old boy from Alasaka, Syria. (Photograph of his friend play­ing out­side)

  • Photo by Ceylan, a 14 year girl old from Qamishlo, Syria. (Photograph of her friend pos­ing next to a snow­man)

  • Photo by Reshit, he is a 10 year old boy from Kobani, Syria. (Photograph of his sis­ters get­ting ready to go attend a wed­ding)

  • Photo by Nevaf, a 12 year old boy from Qamislo, Syria. (Photograph of his broth­er)

  • Photo by Melik, a 11 year old boy from Mardin, Turkey. (Photograph of life in Israsyon)

  • Photo by Nazli, a 14 year old girl from Mardin, Turkey. (Photograph of a life inside of her home)

  • Photo by Nevaf, a 12 year old boy from Qamislo, Syria. (Photograph of his broth­er)

  • Photo by Halil, a 12 year old boy from Alhasaka, Syria. (Photograph of his broth­er)

  • Photo by Ceylan, a 14 year old girl from Qamishlo, Syria. (Playing in snow out­side)

  • Photo by Aya, a 10 year old girl from Derbasiye. (Photo of her father inside their house)

  • Photo by Refai, a 12 year old boy from Derbasiye, Syria. (Photograph of his friend Istasyin)

  • Photo by Nevaf, a 12 year old boy from Qamislo, Syria. (Photograph of his broth­er)

  • Photo by Muhamet, a 11 year old boy from Qamislo, Syria. (Photograph of life inside his house )

  • Photo by Nevaf, a 12 year old boy from Qamislo, Syria. (Photograph of his broth­er)

  • Photo by Ibrahim, a 12 year old boy from Alhasaka, Syria. (Photograph of his shad­ow)

  • Photo by Ibrahim, a 13 year old boy from Alhasaka, Syria. (Photograph of his broth­ers shoot­ing with cam­era)

  • Photo Taken by Melik, a 11 year old boy from Mardin, Turkey. (Photograph of life in Israsyon)

  • Photo by Ceylan, a 14 years old girl from Qamishlo, Syria. (Playing with snow out­side)

  • Photo by Walid, a 12 year old boy from Alasaka, Syria. (Photograph of his moth­er in kitchen)

  • Photo by Melik, a 11 year old boy from Mardin, Turkey. (Life in Israsyon )

  • Photo by Refai, a 12 year old boy from Derbasiye, Syria. (Photograph of his friends play­ing out­side)

  • Photo by Muhamet, a 11 year old boy from Qamislo, Syria. (Photograph of his moth­er)

  • Photo by Rumeysa, a 11 year old girl from Mardin. (Photograph of her friends play­ing out­side)

  • Photo by Halil, a 12 year old boy from Alhasaka, Syria. ( Photograph of life in the vil­lage)

  • Photo by Muhammet, a 10 year old boy from Derbasiye, Syria. (Photograph of his friend)

  • Photo by Zaynap, a 12 year old from Mardin, Turkey (Photograph of her father dri­ving the van)

Read more about the work­shop: https://www.sirkhane.org/home

Support the work­shop via: https://www.mightycause.com/story/Darkroom