Helen Sheehan - Armenian Family Stories and Lost Landscapes Exhibition in Istanbul
- 04.02.2015 00:07:49
Depo Istanbul presents a new exhibition in Istanbul. This is Irish photographer Helen Sheehan's second exhibition in Turkey. In May 2014 she showed her projected photographic sound pieces inside the restored Armenian church of St. Giragos in Diyarbakır with the organization of Diyarbakır Sanat Merkezi and as part of the Second Photography Days held by DIFAK. Sheehan's interest in Armenia and its diaspora was triggered by working as a teacher in the Mechitarist Seminary school on the Armenian Island of St. Lazzaro in Venice in the 1990s. However this interest was re-awakened again in 2009 when she decided to narrate stories of Armenians in diaspora, both in Paris and London, where she was able to forge relationships with descendants of the exiles. By sheer co-incidence most of the families could trace their ancestors back to the Eastern Anatolian city of Diyarbakır, known to them as Digranagerd. Others have connections to Marash, Zeytun and Van region. Sheehan tries to connect with their lost landscape and also attempts to engage with the people now living in these places and how they have transformed them into their own spaces. Sheehan's background is a fusion of photojournalist and fine art sensibilities which were forged in the context of attending Art college in the Republic of Ireland in the 1980s. For two decades she has returned again and again to diaspora narratives and in particular to the experience of being forcibly displaced. In the 1990s she photographed the break up of three formally multi-ethnic towns and cities in the Former Yugoslavia - Sarajevo, Vukovar and Mostar. This forged her commitment to human rights issues and she has exhibited with Amnesty International in Slovenia, Dublin and London. Other work includes commissions from Elle Magazine, The Independent, London and radio work for the BBC World Service.