One of the most challenging environmental problems of the century is the global fresh water shortage. While more than 1 billion people in the world cannot find healthy water, over 2 billion lack access to even basic hygienic facilities due to a lack of the resource. Tragically, more than 2 million people, most of whom are children, die every year due to the illnesses related to these issues. ‘Defining Nature and a Sense of Belonging’, by the Nar Photos Collective, draws attention to global environmental problems from outside the human-centric lens, highlighting their past and present-day effects through four projects that focus on identity and a sense of belonging. The project is being realized in a unique way by four photographers from Diyarbakır: Hüsamettin Bahçe and Serpil Polat capture audiences’ attention with their work “The Fırat River and The Right of Water,” targeting an awareness about the destruction often caused by the human-nature relationship. Having completed his previous project work on the Dicle River, Hüsamettin Bahçe now brings to light the photographic journey of the Fırat River as it winds through ten provinces and over 1,200 kilometers along Turkey’s borders. Serpil Polat’s lens takes aim from further away, snapping images from a distance of 25 kilometers between the Pembelik and Özlüce dams, relating to audiences the effects of viewing water as a commercial commodity, the destruction of nature caused by the dam, the ecological balance, and the effects these issues have on the people and animals living in the region.
Yet another aspect of the project sees Fatma Çelik’s photographic work displaying scenes from Agapa, Sinek and Karanlı villages, presenting stories about confrontation, identity, a sense of belonging and the geographic relationship of Armenians, Yezidis, Kurds and Turkmens in the Middle East. Following of the relationship between these living identities and the spaces they inhabit, as well as their history and the traces caused by the forced immigrations of the past, Çelik aims to raise awareness about these issues and the continuing effect they have on people in the region today.
The Collective photographers Aylin Kızıl, Lezgin Kani and Serdar Bayram are also proud to present a documentary film about Mirazê Cemal, a Kurdish-Yezidi member of Rya Taza, the world’s first Kurdish newspaper. Having launched in April, these projects are now being brought to audiences in Diyarbakır in October. The event, which features both the documentary film screening and a compilation of the presented photographs, aims to foster a unique cultural perspective towards Diyarbakır and nearby cities in the region.