News 2012

Victor Sloan is an invited artist at the Aleppo International Photography Festival

Aleppo International Photography Festival, Syria

15 – 30 September 2012

 © Victor Sloan

Plans for the 2012 Festival were ambitious, with a new venue in a former power station and 48 local and international artists to present some 870 works. When they began work a year ago, no one imagined that by September Syria would be in the grips of civil war, and Aleppo at the heart of the conflict.

With the post office closed, and mobile telephony and internet links cut for long periods, it became nigh-on impossible to proceed. On the ground, printing and framing services had all-but closed down. No one responded from the power station, their planned primary venue for 2012. These specific challenges were exacerbated by a larger demographic problem, as Syrians fled the countryside to take shelter in the increasingly crowded city centre.

Who, facing such calamitous events, would not throw in the towel and abandon the festival? Not Issa Touma and his colleagues. They persevered, and Issa’s assistant Victoria maintained contact with the artists from her base in Armenia, forwarding the information to Aleppo whenever temporary communication could be re-established. 

Every year without fail the festival had opened on 15 September. And on 15 September 2012, a ‘symbolic opening’ was staged at Le Pont Gallery where 40 images from the festival were presented to stand – for now – for the festival as a whole. There are still hopes that the festival will be seen in full. If not in the buildings of Aleppo then online, and the organisers are working now to present the festival at their website and via FaceBook.

Festival Director Issa Touma explains:

“Today at the festival opening, people were relaxed and happy… Today the festival gives a message to everyone, which is: whatever happened in Syria, the photo festival will not stop. Every 15 September is our date to bring together images made by international and Arab artists to meet the Syrian audience.

The festival gives a message about the survival of civil society.

While many have left the country, we chose to stay. In this time of bloody news and death, we still believed in life and peace and love … Every day when we walk out of our hidden corner to see cultural activity, it’s a new victory for life, for art and for culture. It’s the best proof that war cannot win.”

Aleppo is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. It has been a cultural centre for the past eight thousand years. The International Photography Festival of Aleppo and Art Camping  - a peaceful movement running workshops for young refugees displaced by the Civil War co – founded by Issa Touma - are currently the only international artistic meetings places operating in Syria.

Some of the artists invited to participate in the 11th Aleppo International Photography Festival include:

A. Okhi Irawan, Abby Robinson, Alessia Scena, Alex Bocchetto & Valentina Abenavoli, Alexandra Demenkova, Alina Kisina, Allan Fernandes, Amanda Rivkin, Amit Chakravarty, Anil Eraslan, Anna Aseeva, Bent Hedeby Sørensen, Carlo Bevilacqua, Cath. An, Corinne Silva, Darek Fortas, Diego López Calvín, Eleanor Benette, Eric Bouttier, Erin Muvehil, Fernando di Sisto, Fie Tanderup, Giacomo Brunelli, Ishola akpo, Jacqueline van der Venne, James Whitlow Delano, Jean-François Pirson, Jean-Marc Caracci, Katharina Mouratidi, Khaled Hasan, Liu Jinxun, Luca Sidro, Marcin Andrzejewski, Mariam Amurvelashvili, Marwen Trabelsi, Mohamad Manjoneh, Monica Anselment, Nouh Hammami, Nathalie Kardjian, Nathalie Daoustvia Karen Irvine, Nseabasi Akpan, Ploutarcos Haloftis, Roger Bruce, Saikat Mojumder, Sean McAllister and Victor Sloan.


Nepotism + 1
Platform Arts, Belfast
6 - 21 January 2012
Opening Night: Friday 6th of January, 2012, 6 – 9pm

"Bill", archival pigment print on Hahnemühle paper, 82 cms X 54 cms, ed. 5, © Victor Sloan

"Dining Room", archival pigment print on Hahnemühle paper, 82 cms X 54 cms, ed. 5, © Victor Sloan

"Bed", archival pigment print on Hahnemühle paper, 82 cms X 54 cms, ed. 5, © Victor Sloan

Participating artists are Peter Richards, Kim McAleese, Victor Sloan, Jürgen Schneider, Conor McFeely, Pascale Steven, Philip Napier, Dougal McKenzie, Feargal O’Malley, Willie McKeown.

Platform Arts
1 Queen Street
Belfast BT1 6EA
Northern Ireland
Tel: 02890311301
Open: Tuesday – Saturday. 11am – 4pm