"Live, Love, Refugee"

"A set of complex, surrealistic images that reveal the emotional and psychological lives"
                              New York Times

"La vie brisée des réfugiés syriens"                                                 Courrier International

"In posa per il sogno"  
Il Manifisto

“ My wife is blind…I tell her the stories of her favorite TV series, and sometimes change the script…to create a better atmosphere for her”

In “Live, Love, Refugee” Omar Imam dissolves the recurrent representation of Syrian refugees by replacing numbers, reports, and statistics with hallucinations, fears, and dreams. In refugee camps across Lebanon, Omar collaborates with individuals through a process of catharsis, one he believes to be deeply healing. 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 turn, these self-composed photographs challenge projections of victimization, offering entry into the expressive interior from which our humanity stems.

“For a moment I felt like we are talking to a cars technician not a doctor, we are refugees but still human”

Faten & Ahmad came from Homs, they have four children: Mohamed (9 years), Lama (7 years), Siham (6 years), Khadija (4 years when she was killed by a rocket bomb in her yard while waiting for her daddy), Khadija (1 year)

Faten said: “The war killed my mother and three brothers. I don’t want to go back to Syria, that land will make me remember a lot. I just want a new land” 

“I used to have my own construction workshop, but in Lebanon I worked as a lumper” Ahmad said. “My co-worker pushed me from the fourth floor, I am now paralysed.”

Faten adds, “at the day of Ahmad's surgery the surgeon told my husband: ‘I can't go ahead with the surgery on your back because I can't find the screwdrivers..’.  For a moment I felt like we were talking to a car mechanic. We are refugees but still humans. It's the doctor’s responsibility to be equiped with the right instruments...”

"Now I dream of being a physiotherapist, to help my husband and other injured, and to have all the screwdrivers around me."

“There was only grass, but I couldn't pass it through my throat. Yet I forced myself to swallow in front of the children so they would accept it as food”

Amina is Syrian-Palestinian, who used to live in Yarmouk in southern Damascus, and now she is a refugee in a tent in Bekaa (eastern Lebanon).

After the conflict in Yarmouk, the neighborhood encountered a strong siege in 2013, causing hundreds of people to die from hunger. After seven months inside the siege, Amina and her children managed to escape Yarmouk and emigrate to Lebanon, but her husband was stuck in Damascus because Lebanon refused to host new refugees.

During the siege and two months after, she lost 70 kg ( from 115 to 45 kg). Because of the air strikes, starvation, and deaths, she leaves Yarmouk with anorexia; she couldn't eat even in Lebanon.

“ In Lebanon, I found myself in narrow places. I start feeling anxious now when I am in an open space. “

“But at least before we divorced he was useful to keep the harassers away from my daughters and me”

Rawd is divorced and mother of five girls, two of whom are married.

"The role of the man changed during the revolution. My husband didn't dare go to the streets because of the checkpoints, so I had to do most duties."

Then she continues: "but at least, before we divorced, he was useful to keep the harassers away from me and my daughters. Someone told me, ‘yes, I can get you a job, but it would cost you one night’.”

“ In Lebanese society we are outsiders, We were not able to have the same privacy in Syria”

"She brings home the food now.

Our testicles are in danger."

Hael was a doctor, but he quit after the death of his 7 year old child. Hael said: the militia took my brothers from our neighborhood, I have recognized one of them just from his tattoo.  The bomb changed everything. I would have been dead without my wife's instant reaction, she lied to the soldiers to save my life.

Life here in camps changed our social mores, men lost their superiority, our wives don't obey us any more because they bring the food aid. If I go to UNHCR or another NGO, they refuse to give me the food box. Hael continued - with a smile and sad gaze - 'now the battle between the masculinity and the woman's new power. Our testicles are in danger.'

“I was afraid when it’s calm, they check who passed away and who is injured..  I felt safer when I listen to music”

I felt better when I pricked myself with needles; the pain confirmed that I was alive. I was really afraid to die like my neighbors.”

Syrian-Palestinian, used to live in Yarmouk in southern Damascus, and now she is a refugee in a tent in Bekaa (north of Lebanon).

"The gap between me and my memories from Syria becomes bigger, i'm afraid of the blank."

Syrian activist and singer, he said ” I write my poems and lyrics using my memories and experience in Syria, but i found out that The gap between me and my memories from Syria becomes bigger, i'm afraid of the blank.

“ I wish to become a dragon and burn the scarves and everything in that tent”

Kawthar was 16 years old when she got married i couldn't shoot her on her wedding day but 2 month later we could made a photo session after she got divorced.

my husband was a 32 years refugee from Home the same city I came from , he lives in the next camp, i never like him, but i wanted to help my mother, we are 5 girls and my father left us at the beginning of the war.

i was so afraid at the first night, didn't let him touch me so he start beating me, then his sisters tied me my scarves and ripped my dress, one of them was touching me.

i was yelling and resisting, to get rid of the beating i had to lie, i told them that am not virgin, in the next day my uncle came and beat me also because i brought shame to the family in the end we had sex for once because i wanted to prove to everyone that am virgin..

“ Through this project, I was able to rediscover my story through their stories.

I’m a Syrian refuge myself, and we are making one team.”