Esa Ylijaasko

November is a Beginning

First Prize Winner

November is a Beginning by Esa Ylijaasko.

First Prize Winner Gomma Grant 2016.

The refugee migration from conflict zones is one of the most challenging and dramatic emergencies that our modern world is currently facing.
Yet, when a subject is widely photographed and documented, it becomes harder to get the message across to the public.

Esa's work November is a Beginning portrays the limbo in which many refugees find themselves stuck indefinitely. Living a non-life in poor, deprived areas, languishing day after day in hopeless stagnation.

Stained negatives, light leaks, dirt on the celluloid, ruined chemicals - through these intentional analog failures Esa represents the failure of our society in respect of the migrant crisis.


"In November 2013, a Syrian Kurdish refugee community found a new home a thousand miles from the horrors of the civil war.

They settled into ruined houses, abandoned by original inhabitants years ago, in the historical Ottoman district around the Suleymaniye Mosque atop the Istanbul's Third Hill. Once, this neighbourhood was a perfect place to live. Today, it's abandoned and in ruins. New inhabitants have settled-Syrian refugees.

With limited language skills and missing official refugee documents, it's hard, almost impossible, to apply for work. Men spend days hanging around, drinking tea, watching TV and smoking cigarettes. Women do laundry, cook and take care of the youngest children while older kids play or beg on the streets. As they speak only Kurdish, they can't attend a Turkish school.

Kindhearted locals bring food and clothes to refugees, helping them to survive. But life stands still. A TV in the corner of a small room and calls from relatives left still in Syria, tell a hopeless story of the war." EY


November is a Beginning is an ongoing long-term project started in 2013.
Esa Ylijaasko.

Visit Esa Ylijaasko wepbage here


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