One Dollar A Day – Jocelyn Saab
Dates: 15 April 2017 – 14 May 2017
Location: Depo, İstanbul
Depo is hosting distinguished director and photographer Jocelyn Saab with her solo show One Dollar A Day. Saab started out her career as a journalist and war reporter and moved into film during the ‘80s and has made four feature films and 30 documentaries. Saab was at the residency of Boğaziçi University in 2015 as a participant of Boğaziçi Chronicles program. In 2016 she is awarded The Order of Arts and Letters (Officier des Arts et des Lettres) by French Ministry of Culture and received the honorary award at the Francophone Cinema Awards (Trophées francophones du cinéma).
In 2015 Saab has also traveled to the camps at Bekaa Valley, near the Lebanese-Syrian border. Then the war had been raging for 4 years and the death toll was already around 400 thousand and 5 million of people were forced to leave their homes as refugees. The film One Dollar a Day – the daily allowance on which the refugees live – and the accompanying photos bearing the artistic intervention of Saab, challenge the spectator to become conscious of the reality of the refugee experience. Saab juxtaposed the images of tents made from advertising billboard material, brash and brutal as they goad the society into endless consumption, with those of dire living conditions in a devastated landscape where soil resists any growth or sustenance. Saab notes that the very concept of benevolent “nature” is here remarkable for its glaring absence. Besides witnessing that cruel irony the portraits are testaments to the dignity, strength and even irrepressible humor of (mostly) women and children forced to inhabit this muddy no man’s land that was once fertile agricultural fields.
Inundated with violent, distressing and painfully similar images showing events in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Turkey or Greece the modern spectator is at risk of saturation or being numbed. However it can be argued that this only makes filming and photographing these events and bearing witness to them all the more important. The question is how to engage with them.
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