Sara Kerens and Majd Taby
Displaced: Stories from the Syrian Diaspora
May 29 to June 30, 2019
"...their faces betray their reality. The faces of people these stories belong to do not match the images developed over a lifetime of news and entertainment consumption. In the minutiae of daily life, smiles and jokes and small talk hide frowns and distant stares.”
In recent years, millions of civilians from war-torn Syria and the surrounding region have been forced to choose between certain danger in their home countries and the uncertainty of a perilous journey for the chance at a better life abroad. These individuals come from all walks of life: young, old, Christian, Muslim, rich, poor, students, artists, lawyers, engineers, parents, siblings... But to most of the world, they are all defined by a single label: “refugee.”
In 2015, Majd Taby and Sara Kerens spent 10 weeks traveling amongst these groups of refugees, following their migration route from Turkey to Greece, then all the way to Germany in Western Europe, in order to document and share their stories, published in book form as Displaced: Stories From The Syrian Diaspora.
What’s remarkable about the faces portrayed is not how different they seem from any one of us, but how familiar. The stories Kerens and Taby captured are full of loss, love, hope, and the aspiration to build better lives for themselves and their families.
About the artists:
Sara Kerens is a New York City–based photographer who has set out to capture the human experience. For the past ten years her focus has been on fashion, travel, commercial, and documentary work. As a visual storyteller, she has photographed iconic figures from Barack Obama, to Margaret Thatcher, to Chinese civil rights activist Cheng Guangcheng. She has also documented a broad range of experiences, from Susan Sarandon and Alan Cumming on top of the Empire State Building to the hundreds of refugees across Turkey and Europe for book Displaced, which she co-authored with writer Majd Taby. Sara has also photographed backstage at New York Fashion Week and London Fashion Week and has been featured in top publications worldwide. Her work seeks to bring understanding through the common humanity in us all.
Majd Taby is a writer and software developer who studied computer science at the University of Michigan, after immigrating to the state from Syria in 2003, at age fifteen. In Silicon Valley, he worked as an engineer and designer at Apple, Facebook, and Instagram, and most recently started Darkroom, a company to build tools for photographers. His passion for photography and storytelling drove the idea behind Displaced: Stories from the Syrian Diaspora, which he co-authored with Sara Kerens. Each generation of his family has seen war, and his perspective after seeing a war destroy his first known home is central to the stories he tells. Despite leaving Syria before the war, he visited the country every year until the conflict began, and what started as an idea for a small art project blossomed into the show you are seeing today.
facing image by Sara Kerens