A journey of stories told by refugee and local women: Light the Dark Photography Exhibition goes online

UN Women's Light the Dark Exhibition features works of more than 100 refugee and local women.

UN Women Turkey has recently kicked off the Light the Dark Online Photography Exhibition, displaying the photography works of more than 100 refugee and local women along with the pieces by Colombian and Palestinian students who led the project.

In 2019, four university students from Colombia and Palestine met with more than 100 Turkish and Syrian women in four different cities across Turkey to enable women to shine through Light the Dark photography workshops. At the workshops, language barriers were overcome through the common language of photography. The sound of the shutter became the voice of women. Even though it was the very first experience of holding a camera for many, hundreds of photos were taken, and 77 were chosen to be exhibited. Two exhibitions were physically opened at the beginning of 2020. UN Women Turkey created an online platform for the works to be displayed online amid COVID-19.

Different cultures and ages but the same demand

Available in English at www.lightthedark.online, the exhibition invites visitors to take a journey to women’s expressions from different cultures, nationalities, ages, and races. The collection provides several stories created by refugee and local women, which call for realizing their common demand: An equal and fairer future free from violence. Along with the photos from the photography workshops held in 2019, the exhibition also displays women’s digital photography works amid COVID-19, focusing on ending gender-based cyber violence.

Taken by refugee and local women at the photography workshops

Inter-cultural Dialogue Event

The exhibition opened on 10 December, Human Rights Day, with an inter-cultural dialogue event, gathering refugee and local women, funding, and implementing organizations. Participated in the event Ambassador of Japan to Turkey H.E Kazuhiro Suzuki said, “Social integration of women is a critical part of the harmony between refugees and the host communities. A ‘society where women shine’ is a primary goal set by the Government of Japan, and I believe the realization of this goal is a must everywhere in the world.”

UN Women Turkey Country Director Asya Varbanova touched upon the importance of art for bringing cultures together,“Light the Dark Photography Exhibition continues to tell the stories of more than 100 Syrian and Turkish women who, despite their differences, found a common language through the art of photography and reminded us of this shared vision for an equal future,”

Speaking at the opening event, Rawan Abzeed, a workshop participant, said, “We are hoping to raise women’s voices against gender-based violence through art. Everyone is capable of finding a method to have their voices heard. Art does not need translation; regardless of your background, language, race, gender, or religion, you will be able to have your message delivered.”

Initiated by UN Women in partnership with local authorities and NGOs, the exhibition is co-financed by the European Union – the MADAD Fund and the Government of Japan under the projects of the Strengthening the Resilience of Syrian Women and Girls and Host Communities and the Social and Economic Stabilization of Refugee Women and Adolescent Girls.

UN entities involved in this initiative
UN Women
United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women