NO MORE FLOWERS was created by Damascus-born photographer Abd Doumany, who is now an Artist Protection Fund Fellow in Residence at London College of Communication.
The exhibition’s title and theme reflects new realities shaped by the Syrian civil war, as there are now so many funerals in the city of Douma that there are no longer flowers to adorn the coffins.
Abd Doumany said: “I focus on conflict and its effects. When I was in Syria I had to take these photos as evidence, but they were never meant to be seen as any other kind of photo.
“My work is on respecting these images and dealing with them as evidence.
“At the exhibition I will be talking people through the work. I do not know what people will expect when they come to the gallery, but I hope I can change the way people think, or at least question the way that image creators and viewers show and experience images.
“Everybody takes responsibility when a photo is published, whether they are journalists, photographers, writers – everybody.”The show is the first solo exhibition Doumany who received awards for his photos including the World Press Photo and documented the conflict from inside the besieged city of Douma.
NO MORE FLOWERS features image, installation, and video to preserve the memories of those lost.
Doumany commemorates the dead while challenging viewers to bear witness to the atrocities committed, as well as to understand the meaningless of violence and how it perpetuates itself.
Doumany moved to the US with a fellowship but relocated to the UK following the Trump Administration’s travel ban, which barred Syrians from air travel.
Since his arrival in the UK in 2018, Doumany has also been creating a book of the dead, hand-writing names of more than 8,000 people after he learned the death register went missing from the cemetery in Douma.
NO MORE FLOWERS is presented by the Photography and Archive Research Centre at London College of Communication.
It will run alongside Portrait of a London Road: 1904, 1975, 2019, an exhibition which documents Elephant and Castle’s London Road at three points in its history, and the changes it has undergone in that time.
Max Houghton, curator of NO MORE FLOWERS, said: “Working with Doumany has been an extraordinary experience. His archive spans the civil war in Syria since it began.
“Doumany’s unparalleled insights and access show how war shapes the lives of all citizens.
He picked up a camera as most young men in his town of Douma picked up arms to resist the siege.
“Working through this archive necessitated fresh encounters for Doumany with the many thousands of people killed, and it became central to his practice to consider how the dead are seen and remembered.”