As normal as it gets "Merciful soil"
When 350,000 humans are isolated from the outside world, under heavy siege, constant bombardment, and shelling; the relationship between them and their environment is recreated.
It forces one to inspiration, to invent, adapt and create alternatives.
Citizen’s daily life and needs; the search for wood or other combustible materials to burn for heat, while others gather to lift up the rubble, clear the road, and recondition what is left of their damaged homes. The space between two demolished buildings might also get repurposed — rarely — to serve as a wedding hall.
Food, as well, its presence in public spaces, its scarcity, and availability under siege is on everyone’s mind. How one communal meal is spread out in the middle of a street, among the dust and rubble and that neighborhood eats and chats over it. While another extended family gathers in a windowless basement around a bowl of salted cattle-feed, basic sustenance rediscovered to feed many.
Part of life happens underground, in shelters, basements and an extended network of tunnels. The overwhelming feeling of safety that takes over once one enters a tunnel, to the few sunlight rays lighting up the faces of children in the safety of basements. To the last inch of space carved up by humanities’ will of life in the condition of the constant bombardment of their regular spaces.
Children are most influenced by their environment; teachers strive to create alternative activities in fortified basement classrooms for children deprived of school trips. Airstrikes and artillery shelling will not prevent children from playing, their innocence and imagination are still capable of blurring the gory details of destruction all around and recreating their very own world.
Eastern Ghouta, east of Syria’s capital Damascus, was under siege by the Syrian regime’s forces and its allies for more than five years. The aim of this project is to document instances of the triumph of the will of life by citizens of Eastern Ghouta, as they resist, adapt and live in spite of their dangerous environment.