“I report what must be told, what will not be forgotten.”
Ali Mustafa (1984-2014), a Toronto-based freelance photojournalist, activist, and writer, was killed in Aleppo along with seven others on 9 March 2014, in an aerial bombing carried out by the Syrian government.
As we celebrate Ali’s memory and legacy on the second anniversary of his passing, the Ali Mustafa Memorial Collective invites you to an exhibition of some of the most moving and vivid photography from his journeys to Syria.
With this exhibit, we hope to honour Ali’s self-declared commitment to using the art of photography to put a spotlight on the rarely covered human side of war. Disheartened by Western media coverage of the Syrian conflict and the treatment of the plight of civilians as mere statistics, Ali felt compelled to witness firsthand the ongoing tragedies of everyday life he could no longer ignore.
And yet, Ali’s reporting expanded far beyond stories of death, displacement and destruction. Instead, his intimate portraits of Syrians living and resisting in the face of devastation were guided by a commitment to show, above all, people’s strength, survival and resilience against all odds.
More than a mere vocation, photojournalism represented for Ali a tool for realizing his radical vision of social justice. Through his principled people’s journalism, he worked to sow the seeds for what he called ‘genuine people-to-people solidarity.’
As images and stories of displaced Syrians fleeing ravaged neighbourhoods have come to capture the attention and imagination of the world over the last several months, and as the scale of the humanitarian crisis in the country only continues to grow, Ali’s work continues to serve as a call to action and a timely reminder of the need for principled solidarity.
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