Iraq and Mesopotamia, the cradle of human civilization and an unique example of ethnic and religious complexity, cannot find peace since decades.
The whole country experienced endless and recurrent emergencies and wars, affecting all the different communities living in the country. Each ethnic group is struggling to survive the violence and the oppression imposed by extremists groups that in different historical moment occupied different areas of Iraq.
Through the images of sofas Ezidis, Sunnis, Shiahs, Christians, Kurds are depicted in their daily life in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq: when normal existence becomes a struggle, sofas are a way to unite the community and recreate a social space, lost due to the forced displacement.
These pictures were shot between 2014-2016, during the crisis originated by the invasion of Daesh and the occupation of large part of Iraq and KR-I by the extremist group led by Abu Bakr al Baghdadi. The scenario is often an IDP camps, unfinished buildings or urban settings inhabited by people displaced within their country.
The normal life of most of these people was overturned in the beginning of August 2014, when Daesh broke in occupying Ninewa and other regions of Iraq and KR-I, forcing Christians and Ezidis, but also Sunnis and other ethnic and religious groups to flee mainly towards Erbil and Dohuk Governorates.
The international community was witnessing the attempt of annihilation against entire minority groups, in particular Ezidis escaping from Sinjar area, and Christians, from the outskirts of Mosul.
Sofas allow us to witness their different living conditions. Caravan and tents are the reality of the camps set up by local authorities and international agencies responding to the humanitarian crisis. In such context, sofas represent a constant element which allows us to get a glimpse of their daily life fostering an empathic connection. Accompanied by the nostalgia of their previous life and foreseeing an uncertain future, these communities had to adapt to harsh challenges. Sofas represent the will to reproduce the memory of their household and the spaces linked to it – such as the living rooms – that however are, now, placed outdoors due to the lack of indoor space.
To know more about the humanitarian crisis and the consequent living conditions of the IDPs fleeing from the Nineveh Plain, click here