For Syrians on the run escaping civil war, the mundane act of sending a text message proves to be a crucial line of connection with those left behind, a missive that confirms the survival or death of their loved ones.
In Texting Syria, photographer Liam Maloney examines how, along the journey refugees make from Syria to Lebanon and then Canada, mobile technology supports their struggles, transmitting strength and resistance. Gathered here are portraits, excerpts from text message conversations and images from popular culture that highlight intimate parallel narratives beyond the images disseminated in the media.
Born in Montreal, Liam Maloney is a documentary photographer, artist and filmmaker. His work examines forced migrations and the disruptive intersections of technology and intimacy during wartime. His photographs have been published in numerous magazines including TIME, The Guardian, Foreign Policy, Mother Jones, The Globe and Mail, Maclean’s, Vice Magazine and many others.
The installation Texting Syria, from which this publication is developed, has been widely shown, including in Moving Walls, an annual documentary photography exhibition produced by the Open Society Foundations Documentary Photography Project (2015-2016), the Mois de la Photo à Montréal (2015), the Harbourfront Centre (2015), Festival Images Vevey (2014) and at the Nobel Peace Center as part of the exhibition Detours (2017). He recently participated in the MoMA’s group exhibition Insecurities: Tracing Displacement and Shelter (2016-2017).
With this book, Dazibao rewards Liam Maloney, recipient of the Dazibao award, conferred during the 2015 edition of the MOMENTA (guest curator: Joan Fontcuberta), in which an exhibition of Maloney’s work, Texting Syria, was presented at Galerie B-312.
Since 2007, the Dazibao Prize has been awarded to an artist participating in MOMENTA, whose work has stood out for its conceptual rigour, its relevance, and its contribution to image-based practices. The recipient of the prize is invited to produce a book for Dazibao’s Les portables series.
Dedicated exclusively to the work of one artist, each title of the series Les portables is a travelling exhibition with unlimited venues and circulation. The Dazibao Prize has been awarded to Gustavo Artigas (2007), Zineb Sedira (2009), Jim Verburg (2011), Suzy Lake (2013), and Liam Maloney (2015).
Artist: Liam Maloney
Design: Studio TagTeam
Edited by France Choinière
In collaboration with Black Dog Publishing
Bilingual, 64 pages, color reproductions, hardcover