Omar Imam (Damascus, 1979) is an Amsterdam-based, Syrian photographer and Rijksakademie artist. In his photographic works, Imam uses irony and a conceptual approach to respond to the violent situation in Syria. After leaving Damascus in late 2012, he began making fictional short films and he often has to publish his work under a pseudonym.

Imam’s photographs vacillate between mundane documents and utterly inconceivable dreams. His project "Live, Love, Refugee" has been shown in 14 countries around the world.

2017, Omar won "Tim Hetherington" Visionary Award 2017 for his ongoing project 'Syrialism'. 2018, Omar has joined Rijksakademie as a resident artist.

In “Live, Love, Refugee” Omar dissolves the recurrent representation  of Syrian refugees by replacing numbers, reports, and statistics with hallucinations, fears, and dreams. He asks them to recreate their dreams: dreams of escape, dreams of emasculation, and dreams of love and terror.  Sparse and surrealistic, the resulting images evoke the deepest and darkest inner worlds of those persisting everyday with their roots stretching further from a home left behind.


In “Live, Love, Refugee” verbreekt Imam de terugkerende representatie van Syrische vluchtelingen door nummers, rapporten en statistieken te vervangen door door hallucinaties, angsten en dromen. Hij vraagt hen om hun dromen opnieuw vorm te geven: dromen over ontsnapping, dromen over verzwakking, en dromen over liefde en terreur. Ijl en surrealistisch, leggen de beelden de diepste en donkerste binnenwerelden bloot van zij die elke dag doorzetten, hun wortels steeds verder uitrekkend naar een achtergelaten thuis.

"Tim Hetherington" Visionary Award 2017

Main Exhibitions


Arte Fiera, Bologna, Italy

Detours. The Nobel Peace Center, Oslo

AIPAD show. New York

Proyecta Madrid

Art New York 2017    

Call And Response. New York

Targeted. CEG, Chicago



Tbilisi Photo Festival, Tbilisi, Georgia.

If I Leave, Where Will I Go?. East Wing, Dubai

In Between/In Transi. Galleri Image, Aarhu, Denmark

Live, Love, Limbo. Aria Art Gallery, Florence

Mois de la photo. Auxerre, FranceLive, Love, Refugee. UN World Humanitarian Summit, Istanbul

When Home Won’t Let You Sta. Angewandte, Vienna

Making a Scene. Light Field, New York

Live, Love, Refugee. Festival Internazionale, Ferrara, Itlay

Not Here Yet. H2, Augsburg, Germany


Memory For Forgetfulness. ATHR Art Gallery, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Return of the Soul. Prince Claus Fund, Amsterdam

Live, Love, Limbo. Photoville, New York