The Kurdish Globe
By Salih Waladbagi
A Kurdish photojournalist became the winner of the first International Dominant Art Festival in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Two photo journalists participated in the festival from Kurdistan, each with five photos. The festival was about how nations celebrate the Nawroz festival.
Safin Hamed who is a photojournalist for Agency of France Press (AFP) and Peyamner News agency was rewarded for his professional photos in the cultural festival of "Nawroz to Nawroz".
"As a Kurd, I am very pleased to see that they respect Kurds and as a photojournalist I am very happy to become the champion among many eminent and professional photographers," Safin told The Kurdish Globe in an exclusive interview.
In the first round of the contest, almost 4,000 photos were sent to the festival's management committee, from which 180 were selected for the final round.
Hamed further added that he sent five photos in the first round of the contest, from which two photos were selected for the final.
In addition, Hamed thanked the management staff of the festival for giving him their confidence by choosing his photos from among thousands of candidates.
Hamed described his feelings as: "this award belongs to every Kurd because Nawroz is an ancient feast and celebrated among Kurds over the past ten thousand years."
Hamed took the photos in the Nawroz celebration in the rocky town of Akre in 2011. The photos depict the customs of the people and the way they reminisce the spirit of Nawroz.
"Akre has a unique nature and the people of the town remember the ceremony very different from other parts of Kurdistan. Youths of the town take a flame of fire which is symbol of peace, freedom as well as take overcoming suppression and climb towards the peak of certain mountains. Then they stay over there for a while and get down later."
Following the descent of the people from the mountains, they put their flames together in a common place to make a big fire and sing Kurdish songs and dance until late in to the night.
"My message through the photos is nationalistic. I want to say Kurds are a nation and Nawroz is a national festival of that nation," he said.
Hamed was not in attendance at the reward ceremony as he was not already invited. Mansur Jihani, Hamed's friend, took the award on his behalf. Hamed was wondering and bemused as to why he had not been invited to the ceremony.
He encouraged young photographers to try hard and learn more about photography. He also urged them to ask questions that they do not know about.
Safin Hamed won the title of the best photographer of the year in anniversary of Kurdish Journalism Day in 2005. He also won three more awards in 2007. Hamed received another award from Kurdistan Journalism Syndicate for his professionalism. He received several certificate of appreciations from Italy, United Arab Emirates and Jordan.
Kamal Akreyi, the second participant of the festival from Kurdistan, is a photographer for an international news agency and Gulan magazine. He has received a certificate of appreciation as a participant of the festival.
"I am very thrilled to see a Kurd was the winner of the festival and I do hope younger photographers try to improve their skills," he told The Globe.
The festival began in March at the time of Nawroz, in capital city of France, Paris, and went to Russia, Tajikistan and several more countries and cities. It is in Iran now and will go to America, Germany and Greece in future to show the photos of the Nawroz festival. It will be continued until the upcoming Nawroz festival.