New York Times Lens Blog features Omar's powerful series 'Live, Love, Refugee'
with commentary between Omar and author James Estrin. Take a moment to look at his powerful series:
"When Omar Imam works in refugee camps, he takes a decidedly different approach than photojournalists covering an international humanitarian crisis. That’s because Mr. Imam is a refugee himself: He fled Damascus, Syria, in 2012 after being kidnapped and tortured. He still doesn’t know who his captors were, but he is reminded of the ordeal whenever he smiles, revealing a row of perfect teeth that replaced the ones his kidnappers knocked out.
Soon after fleeing Syria, he volunteered at a refugee camp in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley. But it bothered him that the stories reported from the camps were pretty much the same — “a copy of a copy of a copy,” he said — and never matched his own experiences there. The refugees were “overphotographed, but underseen,” he said.
“The people I met are in the worst possible conditions,” he said, “But they have the desire to continue being human.” (excerpt)
"The result, “Live, Love, Refugee,” is a set of complex, surrealistic images that reveal the emotional and psychological lives of these victims of the Syrian civil war. They are absurdist political images that disrupt the audience’s expectations of “typical” refugee photographs.
“Omar is basically a cross between Charlie Chaplin and Dali,” said Tanya Habjouqa, who has photographed extensively in Lebanon’s Syrian refugee camps. “He has Dali’s twistedness and Chaplin’s humane humor.”
Mr. Imam, 37, made the photos under the guidance of Ms. Habjouqa and Eric Gottesman during an Arab Fund for Arts and Culture workshop last year that was sponsored by the Magnum Foundation and the Prince Claus Fund. Ms. Habjouqa, who marvelled at his poetic images, said that while other photographers had been inside these camps, none had made such “intimate work that captures their real dreams and their real fears.” (excerpt)To read the full article and see more images go to the link here."Live, Love, Refugee" was included in the group exhibition "If I Leave, Where Will I Go?"
presented last March at East Wing, and also as part of the group exhibition "In Between / In Transit" at Galleri Image in Aarhus, Denmark
.To see more of Omar Imam's work, visit his artist page on the East Wing website.