top of page

One Day Changes Exhibition


One Day Changes Exhibition

One Day Changes was a joint exhibition by Skimstone Arts' Associate Artists and photojournalists Ako Ismail from Kurdistan Region of Iraq and Shahor Omar from Kirkuk, Iraq who now live in the North East of England with lived refugee experience. The exhibition shows how in one day something so dramatic and life-changing forces people, including children, who were leading normal lives, suddenly to become refugees fleeing their homes, and as survivors look for a safe place.

The exhibition also featured The Smell of Apples a short film created by Ako and Shahor that tells the true story of Azad who survived the Halabja chemical attack which took place 34 years ago on 16 March 1988 during the closing days of the Iran-Iraq War.

"This is such a powerful and moving exhibition - like a testimony of grief and life. And I can't evade our/my responsibilities for what has happened in this region over decades and more. So important that we welcome refugees and asylum seekers - as well as the other actions we can take. Many thanks to Skimstone Arts, Ako and Shahor."
Visitor to One Day Changes Exhibition, January 2022

Watch Ako Ismail, Shahor Omar and our artistic director Claire Webster Saaremets on ITV talking about the exhibition of which Durham University have purchased.



More about the exhibition

Both Ako and Shahor experienced trauma in their families and their own lives through war and oppression, and the risks of working in the media because of terrorism, censorship and repercussions, including kidnapping, death threats or even being killed. They have witnessed the political instability and unrest first-hand, and talk about how as photojournalists they feel a need to document what is happening“for it to be a real, to be witnesses, and proof to the people across the world.” Ako


In the Middle East those who have a journalist's voice and are active in their work, most of them have been killed, to silence the voices of the communities. There is a big issue with the law in the Middle East as the judges who lead the trials of the journalists, are controlled by the ruling partisans. The Kurdish people have always wanted their own independence from Iraq, Iran, Turkey and Syria as there will never be peace whilst they are controlled, and oppressed by these four neighbouring countries. It’s like having four bad neighbours.Shahor


Their work as photojournalists and also in Shahor’s case, as a videographer, is to capture the stories that matter.

Thank you for this fantastic exhibition. The photos are beautiful and tell a powerful story about war and trauma, but also about resilience and joy in everyday life.A visitor to One Day Changes Exhibition, January 2022 

Visitors to the exhibition were asked to leave a pledge or action that will make a positive difference to the world.

One Day was the theme for Holocaust Memorial Day Events 2022. One Day Changes was first exhibited from Thursday 13 to Thursday 20 January 2022 at Newcastle City Library as part of Newcastle City Council's Holocaust Memorial Day Events 2022, at Pop Recs in Sunderland on Wednesday 16 March 2022, at St John's College at Durham University from Thursday 12 to Tuesday 17 May 2022 and at Newcastle University on Friday 24 June as part of refugee week 2022. 

bottom of page