UNITED STATES HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL MUSEUM
SHOWCASES ELENA DORFMAN MULTI-MEDIA INSTALLATION
FROM SYRIA’S LOST GENERATION SERIES
PORTRAITS AND AUDIO RECORDINGS OF TEEN REFUGEES
ON VIEW THROUGH JANUARY 2016
IN THE SIMON-SKJODT CENTER FOR THE PREVENTION OF GENOCIDE
Washington, DC — Syria’s Lost Generation, a multi-media installation drawn from an ongoing series documenting Syrian teen refugees by Los Angeles-based photographer Elena Dorfman is on view at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum through January 2016. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=beMY-IulCMA
The Syrian conflict, which killed over 150,000 people and drove over 11 million people–half the country’s population — from their homes, has become what the New York Times recently called one of the worst refugee crises in generations and the worst migration crisis since World War II. In 2013 the UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner of Refugees) asked Dorfman to tell from an artistic and visually compelling perspective a story about this crisis that would stand apart from other photographs being produced in the region.
Making portraits and audio recordings throughout Lebanon, Turkey, Kurdistan (Iraq) and Jordan, Dorfman, a fine art photographer whose work has exposed marginalized communities in a way that brings them respect and attention, found herself most compelled by the teenagers. Syria’s Lost Generation portrays a physics champion, a published poet, a religious scholar, and a girl who simply misses the particular taste of her favorite food from home. Each speaks of powerful longing and frustration. With little opportunity for study or meaningful work, they all speak about their lives passing them by and futures that now seem lost. They are, indeed, the lost generation of Syrians, sitting out young adulthood in exile.
“We live in a hyper-connected world with a seeming endless access to information,” says Cameron Hudson, director of the Museum’s Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide. “However, the power of that imagery is often lost by itself. The stunning images and individual stories Dorfman captured while covering the Syrian refugee crisis has put a personal face and voice to this violent conflict and the suffering of so many innocent people.”
ABOUT ELENA DORFMAN
Known for her ability to bring dignity and empathy to under-represented subjects, Elena Dorfman’s most recent body of work focuses on teenaged Syrian refugees, forced to flee their country because of civil war. In 2013, Elena was asked by the UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) to utilize her visual style to help promote the cause of the refugees. Based in the Middle East, she gravitated toward Syrian teenagers, some of whom were peaceful protesters during the early demonstrations for democracy, now shell-shocked and bereft in exile. This ongoing series, Syria’s Lost Generation, is currently the subject of a multimedia installation on view at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, in Washington, DC. It was also featured as a series of portraits and accompanying first-person interviews in The New Yorker and National Public Radio show, Here and Now.
Dorfman’s photographs have been widely exhibited and collected. Her monographs include, Empire Falling (Damiani, 2013), Fandomania: Characters & Cosplay (Aperture, 2007), and Still Lovers (Channel Photographics, 2005). Her work has been exhibited by The Museum of Modern Art, New York, The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Los Angeles County Museum, and the Denver Art Museum, among others. She is represented by Modernism, San Francisco. www.elenadorfman.com
ABOUT THE MUSEUM
A living memorial to the Holocaust, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum inspires citizens and leaders worldwide to confront hatred, prevent genocide, and promote human dignity. Its far-reaching educational programs and global impact are made possible by generous donors. The Museum is open every day except Yom Kippur (September 23, 2015) and Christmas Day (December 25). The Permanent Exhibition and special exhibitions are open from 10 a.m. to 5:20 p.m., with extended hours in the spring. See Museum Hours for details. For more information, visit www.ushmm.org.