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Sultan 8 years old from istasyon mardin
Sultan 8 years old from Istasyon, Mardin

In these images, produced by the project’s young participants, the city of Mardin and the vast Mesopotamian plain beyond becoming a backdrop to the miraculous dreams, games, and discoveries which play out within the space of the frame. In occasional moments, the war nearby is hinted at: a fighter plane enters the frame of an otherwise clear sky; a child peers out from inside a UNHCR box.

But rather than reiterating scenes of suffering and trauma, these images depict their environment afresh through the unmistakable, wonder-filled gaze of a child: a vision punctuated by surprise and play, in which friends and family are captured mid-flight, upside down, leaning out of windows, and whimsically disguised. Full of laughter and joy, I saw the air fly is a testament to the unfailing resilience of the imagination, the healing power of photography, and the enchanting perspective of childhood.

All proceeds from this publication will go to the Her Yerde Sanat-Sirkhane charity.

How did the project come about?
Her Yerde Sanat-Sirkhane was founded in 2012 in a region where it is difficult to be a child. Her Yerde Sanat-Sirkhane’s mission is to provide a safe, friendly, and embracing environment for children, who are affected by conflicts. It replaces their damaged childhood with joy and enriches the children’s imagination using the magic of social circus pedagogy. Children have the opportunity to collaborate and form friendships with one another, beyond gender, social and cultural differences. In doing so, they manifest peace, harmony, open-mindedness, and cheerfulness in their local and global communities. Sirkhane carries out activities in Turkey and Iraq serving children through Sirkhane centers located in Mardin province and to rural areas of Mardin province through mobile units.

There is also a book coming out. Where is it available? Can you tell us more about it?
We have now new collaboration with MACK book with I saw the air fly it’s a book represent how the children see the world through their eyes also all photos were selected by children not by me. It will be published on www.mackbooks.co.uk in September.

„i saw the air fly“ – What are you referring to?
We created this project in 2017, first we started the project in istasyon district it’s a very poor area never been reached by humanitarian NGO and also home of thousands of refugees from Syria and Iraq and local people, one day we went to istasyon district and we saw all the communities talking same languages but there was no any communication between them as we got an idea to use analog photography as language to let children express themselves with photography and bring this communities together also we use in our Curriculum subjects such as child rights, child labor, and marriage, Environment and ecology, bullying and gender to empower them.

A memory you want to share with us?
They are quite interested in analog photography it is for them the way to express themselves I remember once when first time one of the children who attend the workshop put the photo paper to the chemical tub than when the photo shows up his start saying Bismillah he thought its magic. and during going to make outside photo shooting they use their imagination, and the results are brilliant.

And that makes children Parents Support them usually culturally they don’t allow to girls getting out of the house freely After seeing the results and how talented they Are they start to support them and they become a family photographer whenever father or brother or sister need a photo for school registration etc. they go the children who attend the workshop children.

Who is the project supported by?
Sirkhane DARKROOM is a nonprofit project by nonprofit organization (Her Yerde Sanat) time by the time we open fundraising from our friends our supporters we continue our projects, we always need of photography materials such as black and white films and 35mm compact cameras people can support us via our PayPal account.

What is planned for the future?
From our fundraising, we got a small caravan and we turned it into the small mobile darkroom and started to go to the villages where is the lake of access to education, art and their rights.

Sirkhane DARKROOM – www.sirkhane.org/darkroom, www.instagram.com/sirkhanedarkroom/