LEBANON: ICTJ Announces Winners of ‘The War As I See It’ Youth Photo Contest


BEIRUT, February 10, 2016—A black-and-white photo of an open book pierced by a single bullet hole was chosen as the grand-prize winner of the International Center for Transitional Justice’s Youth Photo Contest, “THE WAR AS I SEE IT” in Lebanon. The photo, titled “Dominique,” was taken by Sibylle George, a 22-year-old architecture student at American University of Beirut.

Beginning Friday, her winning photo, along with 25 other entries, will hang in Jafet Library, American University of Beirut, for two weeks, as part of a special photo exhibit that will travel to other sites around the country.

The contest was held by ICTJ and its partners to encourage young people in Lebanon to explore how they understand the Lebanese civil war as part of the past and the present, in commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the end of the war.

Sibylle took the winning photo in her grandmother’s living room, in Beirut.

“My grandmother’s house is full of objects that have witnessed atrocities committed since 1975, among them, books,” Sibylle said. “This book, titled, Dominique, was only shot once. It’s been lying on the bookshelf in the living room since that day, but no one had dared to open it.”

Earning one of two second-place prizes was an avant-garde portrait, by 22-year-old Sami Ouchane, showing two groups of painted young people — one from mainly Muslim former West Beirut and one from predominantly Christian East Beirut — meeting on the old Green Line to scream their rejection of blindness, silence and omission. The other winner was a photograph by Christina Boutros, a 22-year-old journalism student at Lebanese University, of an elderly man and a young girl representing two generations of Lebanese — one who lived through the war and another who did not — separated by a wall but united by the painful legacy of the war.

“As these images eloquently show, art can open a new lens on the legacy of the past and help us understand how it inserts itself into the present,” said Fernando Travesí, ICTJ Deputy Program Director. “Our hope is that these photos and the traveling exhibit will create a space for young people and others to talk about some of the unresolved issues of the war.”

A special prize for a photograph depicting “The Consequences of War on the City” was awarded to 19-year-old Tamara Saade. And another special prize was given for the photograph submitted by the youngest participant, 15-year-old Hanin Aboulhosn.

All five winners have been awarded photography courses from Nikon School Lebanon.

Their photos, along with other selected entries, may be viewed here.

Judging consisted of multiple rounds of evaluation based on creativity, photography quality and relevance of the content to the contest theme of how young people see the war.

The judges for the contest were First Secretary at the Embassy of Switzerland in Lebanon Chasper Sarott, Cultural Attaché at the Embassy of France and the French Institute in Lebanon Eric Lebas, Anthropologist and Co-head of the Urban Observatory of the Near East and Chargé de Mission at the French Institute for the Near East Thierry Boissiere, Director of the Department for Contemporary Studies at the French Institute for the Near East Myriam Catusse, Member of the Board of Directors of ICTJ in Lebanon Carmen Abou Jaoudé, Professor at the Political Science Institute and Faculty of Engineering at Saint Joseph University Rabih Haddad, Photographer Ghada Waked, Photographer Gilbert Hage, and Journalist Chérine Yazbeck.

The contest was presented by ICTJ in collaboration with the Embassy of Switzerland in Lebanon, the Embassy of France in Lebanon, the French Institute in Lebanon, the French Institute for the Near-East, and the Political Science Institute at Saint-Joseph University.

Members of the public are invited to attend the opening of “THE WAR AS I SEE IT” Photo Exhibit on Friday, February 12, 2016, 3:30-6:00pm, at Jafet Library, American University of Beirut.

Media Contact

Nour El Bejjani, ICTJ Program Associate in Lebanon
E-mail: nelbejjani@ictj.org

PHOTO: The grand prize winner of the youth photo contest, “THE WAR AS I SEE IT,” was "Dominique, by 22-year-old Sibylle George. (Sibylle George)