Safaa Alwan is ICORN Guest Writer in Skien City of Refuge. He worked as an editor, journalist and writer in his homeland of Iraq, and also documented his surroundings with his camera. The pictures presented in "Basrah - the way I saw it" were taken while Alwan worked for a news agency in the city in southern Iraq, before he had to flee the country in 2009. The photos are exhibited at Sitt Ned Kunst og Kafe in Skien until January 30.
The photos present another side of Iraq than the pictures regularly shown in Western media. Alwan has captured pictures of Basrah street life, the everyday life of workers and children. The photos show a fascination with the details of everyday life, and reveal the particular beauty that can be found in buildings, boats, doors, or knots of rope. In his photographic journey through Basrah, Alwan comes across old buildings in decay - buildings that have not been damaged by bombs or bullets, but have been worn down by time and age. Alwan finds aesthetic value even in these run down places, but in the multitude of city images, the firm looks from the children playing in the streets are what leaves the viewer with the strongest impression.