juuso_exJuuso Westerlund’s Studio Aleppo portrait exhibition is almost ready for its grand opening at the National Museum of Finland

Today the National Museum of Finland is opening the Studio Aleppo [Helsinki] – the second Studio Aleppo ever organized. Portraits made by Juuso Westerlund. First Studio Aleppo was organised in Amsterdam by Paradox in september 2016. The next Studio Aleppo’s will be in the Hague in September and Berlin in October.

How is the project related to Aleppo?

One morning in 2015, Syrian photographer Issa Touma found the remains of the archives of a photo studio amongst the debris on Bawabet al-Qassab street. Glass plates, negatives and prints of portraits made between 1920 and 1970. Every image is a painful reminder of the thousands of people who have fled, been wounded or killed, and of those who have remained in spite of the destruction. We do not know the fate of the people portrayed. The found materials remind us of the destruction of the social and physical fabric of what was, until a few years ago, a flourishing multi-ethnic, multi-religious metropolis. First Studio Aleppo was organised when these remains were set side by side with the portraits taken in a pop up studio in Amsterdam. Studio Aleppo [Helsinki] presents these images from the past today, in order to honour the lost people of Aleppo. 

Even though the project is not limited to Syria and Syrian newcomers. Aleppo symbolises a society whose fabric has been ripped apart, but sadly it is not an exception.

For more information, visit the project website: www.studioaleppo.eu