Rencontres de la photographie en Gaspésie is happy to be partnering with the Festival international de journalisme de Carleton-sur-Mer and the Vaste et Vague artist center to present the photography exhibit NÛJEN, the Women Soldiers and the documentary Gulîstan, Land of Roses by Zaynê Akyol on the theme of war in the female gender. The exhibition will have its opening at Vaste et Vague on Friday, May 19, 2023, at 6:00 p.m., in the presence of the artist. She will also be attending the studio at Quai des arts in Carleton-sur-Mer on Sunday, May 21 at 7:30 p.m. to present her documentary.
NÛJEN, the Women Soldiers profiles female fighters from Syrian Kurdistan who defeated the Islamic State (IS). In March 2019, with the help of the international coalition, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) won the battle against the IS in Syria. A short time later, Zaynê Akyol traveled to these hazardous areas to film her documentary ROJEK and capture on silver film the women – Kurds, Arabs, Assyrian, and others – engaged in protecting their land.
The exhibit presents another face of that war, the face of women of the Middle East who organize and resist those who are sowing terror around the world. It displays a collection of unique images of female soldiers who with extraordinary courage succeeded in overthrowing the Islamic State caliphate.
Screening throughout the Festival international de journalisme de Carleton-sur-Mer, from May 19 to 21, 2023, NÛJEN, the Women Soldiers will also be presented from July 15 to September 30, 2023 at the 14th edition of Rencontres de la photographie en Gaspésie (location to be confirmed).
Gulîstan, Land of Roses
Released in 2016, Gulîstan, Land of Roses is Zaynê Akyol’s first feature film. What it reveals is the day-to-day lives of the female Kurdish guerrillas in the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in the mountains and desert of Kurdistan. These revolutionary women fighting the Daesh (the Islamic State) openly lay bare their thoughts and their ideals, and provide an intimate immersion in their world.
Selected by over 80 international festivals, this documentary has been nominated some 50 times and been the recipient of 12 distinctions, including the prestigious Doc Alliance Award from the Locarno Film Festival in Switzerland.
About the artist
Zaynê Akyol holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in communication from Université du Québec à Montréal, with a concentration in film. Her interest in image and politics also led her to photography. Her first widely seen exhibition, Rojekê, One Day (2016), recounts the resistance through the faces of women guerillas from Iraqi Kurdistan at the start of the war against the Islamic State. With NÛJEN, the Women Soldiers, the artist presents a second series of photographs on the subject of war in the female gender. In 2022, Zaynê Akyol directed her second feature-length documentary, ROJEK. It won the DGC Special Jury Prize at the Hot Docs festival and 11 other national and international prizes.
Image : Zaynê Akyol, NÛJEN, the Women Soldiers