Since the war in Iraq began in 2003, 140,000 Iraqis have been displaced and have become refugees in the United States, leaving behind their belongings, families, histories, and cultures. Added to this number are the approximately 20,000 Syrian refugees who have come to the US since 2011 to escape a seemingly interminable civil war. Photographer Jim Lommasson’s exhibition What We Carried: Fragments from the Cradle of Civilization movingly shows the human side of these impersonal statistics with photographs of the personal belongings and mementos that immigrants brought with them as they began new lives in new societies.

This traveling exhibition, organized by the Arab American National Museum (AANM) in Dearborn, Michigan, has gained momentum and critical attention since it debuted at the AANM in 2016.


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