This photographer left his gear behind while fleeing Syria. Now, he has a new exhibit

·2 min read
Awad Said's first project in nearly a decade is currently on display at St. John's City Hall. (Jonny Hodder/CBC - image credit)
Awad Said's first project in nearly a decade is currently on display at St. John's City Hall. (Jonny Hodder/CBC - image credit)
Jonny Hodder/CBC
Jonny Hodder/CBC

After being forced to flee his home in 2013, a Syrian photographer living in Newfoundland and Labrador has completed his first new project in nearly a decade.

In collaboration with the Association for New Canadians, Said Awad's new project, called "Brighter Future... Together," is on display at St. John's City Hall. The exhibit features dozens of refugees and new Canadians living in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Awad spoke to The St. John's Morning Show through interpreter Khaled Al Hariri.

"He's so happy that his photos are now seen by people from different countries and different backgrounds," Al Hariri said.

LISTEN |  CBC's Jonny Hodder speaks with Awad Said through interpreter Khaled Al Hariri about his new photo exhibit

Awad had worked as a photographer, videographer and video editor in Syria, capturing weddings, sports games and more since he was 20 years old, said Al Hariri. He had collected photography equipment for years, but was forced to leave it behind when he fled Syria in 2013, because of increased scrutiny of journalists and photographers.

"He was very worried of being detained with a camera," Al Hariri said.

"He had to leave everything and just move to another country without anything from what he spent his life to collect and put together."

Jonny Hodder/CBC
Jonny Hodder/CBC

Awad's recently joined the language school with the Association of New Canadians in St. John's, and the director discovered Awad's former photography career. The ANC then asked Awad if he'd be interested in doing a project featuring new Canadians in locations around the city, and he agreed.

Awad said the cold, cloudy weather made for good lighting for photos, and he was pleased with the end result.

"He was so thrilled and excited to see his work in St. John's, in Canada after a long time of waiting for this to happen," Al Hariri said.

Jonny Hodder/CBC
Jonny Hodder/CBC

Al Hariri said Awad plans to buy new equipment and get back into the photography business.

"He's very excited and looking forward to resuming his career," he said.

"Brighter Future... Together" is on display at St. John's City Hall until July 22.

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