Issa Touma – Syrian Lecture Series

Photographer and curator Issa Touma will give three talks during October at the University of Helsinki. Held at the city centre campus, the talks are open to public.

Art in a War Zone
Tuesday, 14 October, 4–6 pm
University of Helsinki, Main building, room 12

In the midst of a war zone, Issa Touma curates and produces art at Le Pont, which hosts major art and photography events in Aleppo, Syria.

“For two and a half years now, the campaign “Art IS Peace” has brought international attention to the fate of civilians in my city of Aleppo and my home country, Syria. This talk is about how we use art projects to push back borders and give more positive energy to society. Today our movement is gaining more and more attention locally as well as internationally, with many sites and media following the “Art IS Peace” campaign.” Issa Touma is currently in residence in Suomenlinna in the context of Nordic Fresh Air Residency Programme, co-organised by HIAP and Perpetuum Mobilε. The lecture series is organised by the Finnish Institute in the Middle East and the Faculty of Middle Eastern Studies, University of Helsinki.

Issa Touma is a self-taught photographer who lives and works in Aleppo, Syria. Finding himself isolated from the international art world and photography scene, he established in 1992 Black and White Gallery, the first photography gallery in the Middle East. After its closure in 1996, Touma founded Le Pont, an independent art organisation and gallery which promotes freedom of expression and stimulates the local art scene through international events. In 1997 Le Pont organised the first iteration of the International Photography Gathering, Aleppo, one of the first international contemporary photography events in the Middle East.

In spring 2012, Le Pont Art Organization initiated the Art Camping workshops, which attempt to counter the violence of the insurgency with artistic interventions around Aleppo. In 2006 Touma served as the artistic consultant for the exhibition Images of Syria at Moestings Hus, Copenhagen. He continues to work as a renowned art photographer and curator in the midst of the chaos of contemporary Syria.

Coming talks by Issa Touma

The Syrian Conflict from the street angle
28 October, 4–6 pm
University of Helsinki, Main building, room 5

Photography art in Syria
29 October, 4–6 pm
University of Helsinki, Main building, room 12

Issa Touma is currently an artist-in-residence in Suomenlinna, Helsinki, in the frame of the Nordic Fresh Air project, curated by Perpetuum Mobilε and co-organised by HIAP-Helsinki International Artits Programme and PM. The Nordic Fresh Air project has been supported by Nordic Culture Point and the Ministry of Education and Culture, Finland.

Further information

Co-Founding Director, Curator Marita Muukkonen, Perpetuum Mobile, maritamuukkonen(at), tel. 044 0965 103
Professor Hannu Juusola, Department of World Cultures, and Anu Piippo, tel. 050 3748 037

University of Helsinki
City Centre Campus
Fabianinkatu 33
00014 Helsinki

Image credit: Issa Touma