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Imploded, burned, turned to ash

Film programme for Refugee Week

22/06/22 11am26/06/22 6pm

Watch Imploded, burned, turned to ash (2021) by Syrian-born and Cambridge-based artist Isaam Kourbaj. The film will be screened in our bookshop during our opening hours and is part of multiple screenings taking place in various locations, worldwide, throughout Refugee Week.

Imploded, burned, turned to ash (2021) was created to mark one decade of the Syrian uprising. It was performed and live-streamed on 15 March 2021 – the tenth anniversary of the first day of unrest. Filmed during the second COVID-19 lockdown at The Howard Theatre at Downing College, Cambridge, it was watched live across the world. In collaboration with the composer Richard Causton and the soprano Jessica Summers, as well as Kettle’s Yard, The Heong Gallery and The Fitzwilliam Museum, the original performance also coincided with the artist’s display of 366 eye idols created from Aleppo soap (Don’t Wash Your Hands: Neither Light Agrees To Enter The Eyes Nor Air The Lungs, 2020) at the Fitzwilliam Museum (2 December 2020–5th September 2021). In March 2021, Kourbaj said: “To mark the tenth anniversary of the Syrian uprising, which was sparked by teenage graffiti in March 2011, this drawing performance will pay homage to those young people who dared to speak their mind, the masses who protested publicly, as well as the many Syrian eyes that were, in the last ten years, burnt and brutally closed forever.” The performance will be screened in multiple cultural institutions across the UK, Europe, Middle East and USA, throughout Refugee Week (20–26 June 2022), to reflect the diaspora of many Syrians forced to leave their destroyed homes and erased cities, who are now scattered across the world.

Images: Stills from Imploded, burned, turned to ash (Issam Kourbaj, 2021). Courtesy of the artist. 

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