March 15, 2016 - May 1, 2016
History, Beauty, and Legacy of Syria's Endangered Christian Communities While staying with the Syriac Orthodox Archbishop of Aleppo, Mor Gregorios Yohanna Ibrahim, during Lent and Holy Week in 2006 and 2007, Jason Hamacher experienced and documented the people, landscape, and culture of one of the oldest continuously inhabited regions in the world. In these images of Syria, we see the resiliency of a culture that has sustained for two millennia but currently faces endangerment in the midst of an ongoing civil war. Hamacher invites us to retrace his journey to these ancient sites and allows us to ponder the legacy and history that we inherit from those before us and what we forge for the generations that follow.
As modern westerners, we catch glimpses of the devastation and destruction happening through the lens of our nightly news. Though the images may elicit some sadness and sympathy, the conflict in Syria feels distant and we move through our daily lives largely unaffected. The photographs in this exhibit depict a time of relative peace before the conflicts escalated, and the contrast of these images with what we now see of Syria magnifies the severe loss as we are threatened with the disappearance of a people, a culture, a way of life, and one of the closest remaining connections to the Early Church.
In the decade since these photos were taken, much has happened to the people and places documented within: many of the buildings have been destroyed and the Archbishop was kidnapped by terrorists in April 2013 and has yet to be found. This exhibition commemorates the loss as much as it prompts us to consider the current conflicts and displacement within the fabric of the country's larger history, challenging the viewer to appreciate the richness of the past while striving to preserve the sanctity of faith and life for the future.
"Never before in its history has Syria experienced any such monstrous, criminal acts. All Christian and Muslim citizens used to live in harmony, affection, solidarity, mutual help, national community … such that it was considered an Arab and world model.” — Patriarch Gregorios III, Melkite Greek Catholic Church
Please visit www.lostorigins.com for more information on the artist.
Curated by Christina Young