Rose Richani’s intimate recollections of her Syrian homeland reveal the complex reality of living between two cultures. In the past few weeks the conflict in Syria has heightened and the widespread human displacement globally brings urgency to give voice to those directly implicated. A little bit of our Syria shares some of these stories of displacement. “It is a desperate, simple yet complicated reminder that realities beyond your own exist and although they seem like worlds away, within these realities are similarities too,” the journalist explains.
“From a wider view, it’s about the internal and universal struggle of migrants, the confused sense of belonging passed on to their children, and the merging of worlds and cultures.” Her images resonate in the multicultural city of Logan – Richani’s Australian home for much of her childhood.
Originally posted on Instagram, the 21 exhibited photographs taken during visits to Richani’s other homeland share a personal vision of Syria that differs from media portrayals. One poetic caption accompanying an image of cherries reads: “I hope that the only red you see on the doorsteps of street stalls and in your friends’ homes … is that of sweet cherries in June – something beautiful you don’t normally see from the land you don’t really know.” The significance of these everyday yet loaded snapshots is further divulged through recorded conversations between Richani and fellow collaborator and journalist Daniel Seed. All content returns online as a website, allowing a wider audience to experience Richani’s heartfelt stories. She explains her motivation is to catalyse conversation, rather than to speak on behalf of all Syrians: “I hope this body of work will inspire or encourage others to listen to those ‘other’ voices, and to tell their own stories too.”
This article was originally published in the November/December 2019 print edition of Art Guide Australia.