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Photojournalists Shaho Omar and Ako Ismail

A digital exhibition of photographic art depicting life in refugee camps and the impact of war has launched after the University purchased the collection.

One Day Changes is a series of 24 photographs and a film shot by Ako Ismail from the Kurdistan region of Iraq and Shaho Omar from Kirkuk, Iraq.  

The pair, who are now living in the North East of England, previously worked as photojournalists in the Middle East reporting on the impact of conflicts in Iraq and Syria.  

Their evocative black and white images show the devastation brought by war but there is also a message of hope and peace in their work.  

Teaching future generations 

The One Day changes artwork was first shown in Durham at a successful exhibition in St John’s College in May last year.  

The University then bought the artwork in both digital and physical form. 

This means the work is now a permanent part of our art collection and will be made available for generations of students, staff, schoolchildren and visitors to engage with. 

It will be used in teaching, research learning and exhibitions programmes, including working with local schools.  

In particular, the artwork will support teaching in the fields of contemporary artistic practice and critical thinking about the world. 


Ako and Shaho are associate artists for Newcastle-based Skimstone Arts. 

Their work was originally commissioned and curated as an exhibition by Skimstone Arts for their National Holocaust Memorial Day Events in 2022 and was shown as part of a series of events in the North East.  

Following this digital exhibition of One Day Changes, there are plans to host a physical display of the artwork at a University location this summer, 2023. 

Main photo shows artists and photojournalists Shaho Omar and Ako Ismail with their work.

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