A photographic exhibition has been launched in Turkey’s western coastal city of Izmir with a collection of photographs by refugee children. The exhibition was jointly organised by Izmir City Council, a non-governmental platform for professional associations, universities, trade unions and rights groups, and the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR).
The 72 photographs on exhibition were taken by 24 Syrian children, 12 girls and 12 boys, who recently recieved some basic training in photography with a series of workshops.
The fundamental objective of the project was to achieve a reflection of the children’s observations and perceptions of their surroundings with their photographs. Another aim was to release their creativity by engaging them in the process of production.
Nazik Işık, the chair of the Izmir City Council said they both tried to encourage participation by means of the project and to provide children something what was actually their natural right.
“Immigration and being in immigrant always signify tension, uncertainty, hard times and lack of means. But children, whatever the circumstances are, have the right to play, to have some fun and to have access to new opportunities.”
One of the children who took part in the project explained how she felt about being raised in Turkey.
“I was five years old when I came here. We’ve been here for seven years. I wasn’t born here, but I’m like a Turkish citizen. I was very little when I came here and I’ve worked out how to speak Turkish so well now that I’ve even started forgetting Arabic a bit.”
While another child said that she wished to be an artist or a photographer in the future, another one stood in front of the photograph she had taken and briefly explained why she took it:
“There was this peacock. They look beautiful with their reds, yellows and greens. This is why I took the photo.”