TUR ABDIN / PARIS – Syriac fashion photographer Saima Altunkaya grew up in the Syriac diaspora in Hamburg and moved to Paris in 2002 to start her career in fashion photography. In 2013, she first visited Tur Abdin, the place where her parents grew up and emigrated from.
The trip opened her eyes and she rediscovered the importance of her Syriac identity. Her spiritual awakening changed her life and she embarked on a journey to the roots of her ancestors. What followed was an intense confrontation process with cultural identity and the beauty of the cultural and Christian heritage of the Suryoye.
Altunkaya captured her impressions of Tur Abdin in her photography. They give an insightful visualization into the history but living culture of the Syriac people (Suryoye). Some 3,000 Suryoye remain in their home land Tur Abdin.
Saima Altunkaya’s photographic portrait “Tur Abdin, the Mountain of the Servants of God” will be on exhibition at the Contemporary Arts Center (Çağdaş Sanatlar Merkezi) in Ankara from 1-28 June. The exhibition is part of several photo exhibitions organized by the Institut français.
For the article in Turkish, see Gazete Sabro