“Syria – Against Forgetting” shows visitors the Middle East from a Syrian perspective and opens up a space for Syrians to remember their first homeland and to share this memory.
- Raqqa, Ⓒ Mohamad Al Roumi
With this exhibition, the Syrian curator and archaeologist Jabbar Abdullah sets out on the traces of Syria’s cultural memory. He shows historical Syrian artefacts from German collections – some of which have now been made accessible to the public for the first time – in dialogue with contemporary positions and Syrian everyday life and memory culture. Calligraphies, film footage and 3D projections shed light on Syria’s cultural past, its recent history and the current life of Syrians in and outside Syria.
The exhibition “Syria – Against Forgetting” sees itself as part of a postcolonial discourse and also initiates a discourse on Syrian cultural memory. It shows visitors the Middle East from a non-European perspective and opens up a space for Syrians to remember their first homeland and to share this memory.
Yann Arthus-BertrandⒸ Aleppo
Dictatorship and war destroy: Human lives, cities, landscapes, material heritage. They also destroy memories. Memories of how things once looked, how people lived, how rich their culture is.
The exhibition is about the Syria that threatens to be forgotten under all this. It tells of a country with thousands of years of history, with the most diverse cultures and religions living side by side and with each other, with lively cities, diverse everyday life and vibrant contemporary art.
“Syria – Against Forgetting” is curated by Jabbar Abdullah, Syrian curator and archaeologist living in Cologne. “The exhibition was a matter close to my heart. In addition to the Syrian community, it addresses the German public, which seems to focus solely on the war, IS and the destroyed Palmyra. At the same time, I would like to counter the forgetting of Syrian culture in the minds of Syrian children. They have never been able to see the country of their parents.”
With the exhibition, Abdullah sets out to trace Syria’s cultural memory. He shows historical Syrian artifacts from German collections in dialogue with contemporary positions and Syrian everyday life and memory culture. A second section of the exhibition invites visitors to the cities of Aleppo, Damascus and Raqqa, which they can experience as “scenes”. Calligraphy, film footage, and 3D projections illuminate Syria’s cultural past and its recent history, particularly in these cultural centers.Through the objects on display, a new chapter of Syrian-German history emerges, raising the question of how the objects came into the collection of German museums. In many cases, it was German scientists* who contributed to the understanding of early civilizations in present-day Syria with their archaeological research. They brought numerous finds to Germany. Many of them were destroyed during the Second World War, others were forgotten and are presented for the first time in this exhibition
An exhibition by 17_3_17, Verein der Förderer des Austauschs deutscher und syrischer Kultur e. V. curated by Jabbar Abdullah with the support of the Rautenstrauch-Joest Museum.