Esa Ylijaasko 1
Esa Ylijaasko 2
Esa Ylijaasko
A Paradise Full Of Song
In November 2013, a Syrian Kurdish refugee community found a new home a thousand miles from the horrors of the civil war.
They settled into ruined houses, abandoned by original inhabitants years ago, in the historical Ottoman district around the Süleymaniye Mosque atop third hill of Istanbul.
With limited language skills and missing official refugee documents, it’s hard, almost impossible, to apply for work. Men spend days hanging around, drinking tea, watching TV and smoking. Woman do laundry, cook and take care of the youngest children while older kids play or beg on the streets. As they speak only Kurdish, they can’t attend to a Turkish school.
Kindhearted locals bring food and clothes to refugees, helping them to survive. But life stands still. A TV in the corner of a small room and calls from relatives left still in Syria, tell a hopeless story of the war.
Born in 1989, Esa Ylijaasko is a Finnish photographer originally from a small Northern town of Keminmaa. He graduated from Jyväskylä College of Arts in 2010. After working for newspapers in Finland and Chile, and doing own projects in Russia and Spain, he wanted to be more independent as a photographer.
Ylijaasko visited Istanbul first time during the Gezi Park protests and got inspired by the diverse atmosphere of the city. He decided to move there hoping to find himself as a photographer by working on subjects he believes must be shown to the public.