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Timeless Syria 

From November 06, 2019 until December 01, 2019From Monday to Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., Sundays and holidays from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Casa Árabe Hall of Columns (at Calle Alcalá, 62, Basement Level). From Monday to Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., Sundays and holidays from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Free entry until the event’s capacity is reached.

Casa Árabe is hosting this photography exhibition by Pío Cabanillas at its Madrid headquarters. 

“This is a tale of beauty and loss. And also about culture and its immaterial nature. A sad but, at the same time, powerful, profound and immortal tale, because its roots sink deep into the very soul of our civilization.

It is also a travel story. In the spring of 2009, two years after the beginning of a war that has devastated Syria, Pío Cabanillas traveled to the country and photographed its people, but also its monuments and places which have now vanished or were destroyed in large part. His pictures are a plea for peace, beauty and culture, and they provide a stubborn reminder that, when faced with huge losses in terms of lives and artistic heritage, barbarianism can never erase from memory the grandness of a people and the civilizations which once formed part of it.

The black and white photographs by Pío Cabanillas hold a silent dialogue with a collection of poems by Syrian authors, selected by Jafaar Al Aluni, many of which have been translated into the Spanish for the first time ever. These verses evoke the epic world of Gilgamesh and Hammurabi, the memory lying in stones, the power of words and the first love poem written in Sumer. With the snapshots, they create an intimate portrait of the country.

This project travels through sites such as Palmyra, the Krak des Chevaliers, St. Simeon, Hama, Aphamea, Damascus, Bosra and Aleppo, and shows the lives of their people in times of peace. It is a tribute to civilization, to the colossal brilliance of human creativity in the earliest years of empire, to the artistic uniqueness resulting from the convergence in Syria of the three great monotheistic religions, and a reminder of the slow-paced wanderings of the caravans which kept Europe and Asia united for centuries.”

Text taken from the book Syria, published by La Fábrica in 2019.

The official opening of the exhibition will take place on Wednesday, November 6, 2019 at 7:00 p.m. in Casa Árabe’s Hall of Columns. The event will be attended by the photographer, Pío Cabanillas, and during the opening there will be a short poetry recital by Syrian authors selected and translated by Jafaar Al Aluni. After this, the exhibit will remain on display until November 28.
Timeless Syria 
Photo: Pío Cabanillas