All over the world political, social or religious conditions complicate relations between young people. Based on documentary photos we have created artworks in the form of wedding invitations. We invite you to see the horror, the cruelty and the darkness many young men and women have to endure in their pursuit of happiness and love. The stories are based on real situations, real conflicts and real violence. They are the starting point for W&A’s Dark Room.
Current exhibition project to be finished during 2020 sponsored by the Danish Ministry of Culture.
JACOB & GERST
In Germany attacks against homosexuals have risen the last years. Football hooligans and right wing groups but also Muslim fundamentalists are the main responsible groups behind the violence. Football is one of the most difficult areas for gay men and few have had the courage to out themselves as gay. The story of two German third League players from the club Energie Cottbus shows why. Jacob T. and Gerst A. had tried to keep their relationship secret, but at some point rumors about their relation became public and spread among hooligans. During a match against FSV Zwickau Jacob scored a decisive goal after which Lucas spontaneously embraced him in pure joy. In a flash more than 100 hooligans from Zwickau jumped roaring on the playfield and knocked them down. Gerst never recovered from the injuries.
ADMIRA & BOSKO
During the ethnic conflicts in former Yugoslavia from 1991 to 2001 an estimated 140,000 people were killed. The breakup of the Yugoslav state resulted in extreme violence, massacres and destruction. In the cynical urge for power warlords and politicians manipulated historical myths, ethnicity and religion to create reasons for untamed violence. Being in love with a person from a different religion or ethnicity was enough to get killed. 25 year old Bosnian Muslim Admira Ismic and 24 year old Bosnian Serb Bosko Brkic were lovers and tried to flee from Sarajevo. A sniper killed them on May 19, 1993, as they tried to cross one of the front lines. They were later known as Sarajevo’s Romeo and Juliet.
MAKSIM & JELENA
The Russian Federation has the world’s second highest suicide rate. The youth suicide rate is alarmingly high, especially in rural areas. Some places, like the Bryansk area, have experienced almost epidemic situations where many young people commit suicide over a short period of time. Internet-based suicide groups or “death groups” have been disclosed in which young people are manipulated to self-mutilation, scarification and eventually committing suicide. A “mentor” of such a group, 22 year old Filipp Budeikin, stated while being arrested in St. Petersburg that the 15 teenagers he had manipulated to commit suicide were “biodegradable waste worthless to society”. Among them where 17 year old Maksim Karazamov and his girlfriend, Yelena Prerovskaya, from the village of Peretin, they gassed themselves to death in an old car while holding hands.
KASIM & KAYOOSH
Iraq was a largely secular society before the American invasion in 2003. Sectarian violence between Sunni and Shia-Muslims started in 2006 in the aftermath of the occupation and the general dissolution of the Iraqi state. While inter-sect marriages were common before the war, they are now rare and often lead to conflicts and violence. The story of young Shia Kayoosh H. and her Sunni boyfriend Kasim J. in the Kurdish region of Iraq shows how dramatic the situation can be today: 17 year old Kayoosh was subjected to an “honor killing” by her own brother. The local Kurdish authorities accept the right for clans or tribes to punish a member (especially women) for committing a misguided act such as a mixed marriage. The brother was not persecuted.
BASEEM & AHRON
In Gaza homosexuality is forbidden by law and severely punished by the Hamas government. But in spite of this situation young people find ways of meeting each other through social media. There are several apps for the gay community. One interesting effect of the clandestine communication between homosexuals in Palestine is that also young Israelis take part. Sometimes relations or love affairs between Israelis and Palestinian youths develop in spite of the tense political situation. A dramatic example of such a relation is that of Palestinian Baseem H. and young Israeli soldier Ahron J. who had a secret love affair. At a Palestinian demonstration against the occupation they suddenly found themselves in each other’s arms: Ahron as a soldier with a machine-gun and Baseem with a stone in his hand. Baseem was arrested.
BESAAM & AZIA
During the Syrian civil war tensions rose between the country’s many ethnic and religious groups and gradually turned the war into a multi-polar religious conflict. Relations between young people from different ethnic and religious communities are rare today. The attempted marriage between Sunni Arab Besaam H. and his Alawite girlfriend Azia B. shows why. Soldiers from the rebel Ahrar al-Sham militia attacked the young couple in their little village of Muzayraa only because Besaam wanted to marry an Alawite girl. Basaam was shot dead while holding his girlfriend in his arms.
ASLAN & YEZDA
The young Syrian couple Aslan B. and Yezda K. had married in their home city of Aleppo in spite of the desperate conditions during the civil war. “Their love was stronger than the war!”, Aslan’s father said during the wedding. One year after the marriage Yezda gave birth to a little girl. Because of the constant shelling it had been a risky venture to get Yezda to the only hospital left in Aleppo with a maternity ward. When Aslan and Yezda were about to leave the hospital with their newborn baby the hospital came under attack from airstrikes. Several bombs hit the overcrowded hospital. The young couple had to flee with their baby. She died from the injuries some hours later. They had named her Dunia. It means “life”.