The Syrian conflict has already lasted longer than World War II. Since 2011 it has claimed half a million lives and displaced 11 million people. This new season at the Imperial War Museum attempts to unravel the causes of a war that we’re more used to understanding through its effects: humanitarian devastation, the refugee crisis, global political instability.
It includes an exhibition from Pulitzer Prize-winning Russian documentary photographer Sergey Ponomarev, whose images sensitively invest the brutal human tragedy in Syria with an elegiac old-master grandeur, alongside objects and narratives from the conflict. It’s the first in the IWM’s new strand, ‘Conflict Now’, which will look at the personal experiences of those who have been involved in wars first-hand across the globe. The Imperial War Museum was founded 100 years ago to document the ongoing Great War: this show is a timely (if essentially depressing) reminder that war is something that still affects huge numbers of the world’s population every day of their lives.
‘Syria: A Conflict Explored’ is at the Imperial War Museum, Apr 27-Sep 3. Read more about Sergey Ponomarev’s ‘A Lens on Syria’.