I Am Still Here, 2016


Banner Art: Zina Juma, "Two Boys with Purple Background" (upper detail), Photography, 2016

Zina Zuma, "We Are Still Here" (Installation view), Photography, 2016
Zina Zuma, "We Are Still Here" (Installation view), Photography, 2016

Host Program: American Community School at Beirut, Lebanon

Media: Photography

Adult Mentor: Lucy Mock

Youth Artist: Zina Juma

Artist Statement

Zina Juma is part of a group of ACS Beirut students and teachers (including Wheelock College JJYA alum Lucia Mock) that teach English to young women and children at an education center in Burj al Barajneh refugee camp in Beirut, Lebanon.

Burj al Barajneh measures 1-square kilometer in size, is home to an estimated 30,000 Syrian and Palestinian refugee families and was the site of a suicide bombing on November 12, 2015 that killed over 40 people and wounded 200 more. It is also the site of the Nour Education Center, an informal education program founded by residents of the camp to educate Syrian children who otherwise do not have access to education. Only 25% of the over 500,000 Syrian children residing in Lebanon (having fled the Syrian civil war) are receiving access to educational services. This generation of young people is referred to by some as a “lost generation”.

In this piece there are two pairs of images in each frame -- the top picture shows children from the English classes while the bottom picture is taken in the same setting but without the children. The artist is showing the disparity between the pictures where the children are present and so full of joy and life and the emptiness of the ones where they are no longer there. We are reminded that the presence of children is needed and important; they bring joy and meaning to the world.

Image Gallery