Visiting the Imperial War Museum: Part I

June 6, 2017

Last week the KCA team went on an outing across the road to the Imperial War Museum (IWM) to check out their current exhibitions, Syria: A Conflict Explored and People Power: Fighting for Peace.

This first instalment is about Syria: A Conflict Explored.

In Syria: A Conflict Explored, the IWM are hosting a season of exhibitions and events considering the origins, escalations and human impact of the ongoing Syria conflict. We began with Syria: Story of a Conflict, a short exhibition offering an introduction to the complex conflict in the country. Visitors are led past a collection of objects and personal stories to an installation film experience.

The conflict has already lasted longer than WWII and has many competing voices, making it difficult to piece together what is happening and decipher the accuracy of information. The film addresses the ‘war of narratives’ and provides a clear, balanced and objective explanation of the conflict, the events leading to it and the many sides involved.

From this we went on to see Sergey Ponomarev: A Lens on Syria, an exhibition of the award-winning Russian documentary photographer’s work. The first room provides a rare insight into ‘Assad’s Syria’, the Government controlled areas of Syria in 2013-2014. The beautifully composed colour photographs give a sense of the beauty of the country and the destruction that has occurred during the conflict. The first room shows Syrians going about their normal lives, drinking tea and baking bread whilst the war happens around them. The next room shows the visual signs of the conflict becoming more difficult to miss, children playing in rubble, soldiers, families fleeing, and explosions.

The final and smallest room of the exhibition looks at ‘The Exodus’, Syrians seeking asylum and a better life in Europe in 2015-2016. This digital projection captures the urgency, endurance and suffering of Syrians and provides a moving insight and reminder of their sacrifice and determination.

June 2014: Homeless children play in the ruins of Homs after opposition forces fled their district. Photograph: Sergey Ponomarev

In Damascus, Syria, Sunday June 15, 2014. (Photo Sergey Ponomarev for The New York Times)

In Damascus, Saturday August 24, 2013. (Photo by Sergey Ponomarev)

An inflatable dinghy, crowded with refugees and migrants, is pulled ashore the Greek island of Lesbos after sailing five miles across the Aegean Sea from Turkey. July 27 2015

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