Art Projects

US photo contest awards Kurdish man’s work showing displaced Yezidis

This article originally appeared in Rudaw.

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — A Kurdish photographer earned third place in a competition held by a Washington think tank for his works depicting IDPs in camps in the Kurdistan Region in the “Generations” photo contest.

Rawan Jawad, 32, submitted four photos depicting the lives of displaced Yezidis from Shingal in camps in the Kurdistan Region.

“They have invited me to the United States on November 7 when there will be a photo fair and awards,” said Jawad.

His photos will be displayed at a gala in Washington, D.C., along with the other top 4 submissions.

The competition was open to professional and amateur photographers from around the world. They submitted images focusing on the countries and cultures of the Middle East.


One of the photos Jawad Rawan submitted for the Middle East Institute’s ‘Generations’ photography contest.

“This year’s contest seeks photographs documenting the lives and traditions of past generations, the hope and aspirations of future ones, and the transitions between them,” the MEI photography contest explained on its website.

Jawad, 32, lives in Erbil. He began as an art journalist, but devoted his life to photography in 2009.

He has participated in seven photo fairs in Germany where he plans to continue to do so.

ISIS militants invaded the Yezidi city of Shingal and its surrounding villages on August 3, 2014. They killed hundreds of men, women, and children and took thousands others captive. Many were later sold as sex slaves and servants.

The Yezidi homeland of Shingal remains a disputed or Kurdistani area claimed by both Baghdad and Erbil more than four years afterwards.

According to Khairi Bozani, the Yezidi representative to the KRG’s Ministry of Religious Affairs, 1,193 individuals were slaughtered on the first day of the ISIS attack alone.

More than 1,100 Yezidis, mostly women and young girls, are still missing.

The Kurdistan Region continues to host 1,476,183 IDPs and refugees (registered and unregistered), according to the Kurdistan Regional Government.

The KRG, which is willing to continue to host IDPs and refugees until conditions are proper, has warned that a lack of funding by Baghdad and the international community threatens to undermine their efforts and could lead to a humanitarian disaster.

This article was originally published in Rudaw.

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