Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Jamal Penjweny: Photographs Emphasize Hope amid Tragedy | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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The Kurdish photographer, Jamal Penjweny, has fulfilled his dream of being a press photographer and succeeded in achieving international fame, but he has maintained continuous efforts to fulfill more dreams, succeed in more cultural and artistic projects, and collect more global awards, along with introducing distinguished photographs that feature a tragic reality that delivers a beautiful message reflecting existing hopes.

Penjweny was born in 1981 in one of the refugees camps on the Iranian- Iraqi borders far from his city Penjwen, during the war that took place between the two countries. He grew on the voice of weapons but was different from other children; he used to watch photographers and journalists who visited camps to prepare reports on refugees and their sufferance; he was always attracted by their cameras.

The Kurdish photographer tells Asharq Al-Awsat that he used to watch photographers and journalists who visit the camp and dreamed of being a famous photographer.

In 1992-1998, during the war that took place in the province, Penjweny was obliged to suspend his education for few years; in 1999, the former Iraqi President Jalal Talabani and his wife Hero Ibrahim Ahmed accompanied the young Penjweny with them to Sulaymaniyah and helped him to resume his education; he bought his first camera when he was 17-years-old and started to take pictures for sculptures he made.

During the war on Iraq in 2003, the photographer moved among different Iraqi cities to capture pictures; he wandered war fields and streets with his camera to shoot what was happening in Iraq; he provided newspapers and international news agencies with the photographs he took amid battles, wars, and tense scenes till 2009.

His photographs were spread within these six years; he worked with many media outlets including Asharq Al-Awsat, Al Arabiya TV, Reuters, the New York Times newspaper, the Guardian, National Geographic, BBC, Washington Post, Financial Times, and other global outlets.

Penjweny studied Fine Art in the University of Sulaymaniyah and Photography in Australia, Norway, and many other European countries; he has won dozens of global awards and certificates.
In 2009, he stopped press photography and dedicated his time for art photography.

When he captured photographs of people who heavily suffered from war in Iraq, Penjweny had been keen to learn about their dreams, which he emphasized in photographs.

The Kurdish photographer has revealed a project he has worked on in the province of Kurdistan; the project is a cultural center called “Juniper” in Sulaymania aiming at changing the artistic scene in the city. He said that this center will be managed by the most renowned artists in the world and will represent a cultural bridge between Kurdistan and the world.

Penjweny has organized more than 20 exhibitions in different countries and announced that he has prepared the opening of a photograph exhibition in the U.K. as part of cooperation with the British museum, which will host the exhibition.