by | 2 February 2024 | Blog, Exhibitions

Genocidal Captivity: Retelling the Stories of Armenian and Yezidi Women

21 February 2024 – 31 May 2024


This exhibition is organised as part of The Holocaust and Genocide Research Partnership.

This exhibition explores stories of Armenian and Yezidi women held in genocidal captivity, using humanitarian records of Armenian survivors from the 1920s and recent interviews with and compelling portraits of Yezidi survivors in Iraq.

In 1915, during the Armenian genocide, tens of thousands of women and girls were ‘absorbed’ into Turkish, Kurdish, or Arab households. They became Muslim wives, servants, slaves, and daughters and their Christian Armenian identity was officially erased. In the aftermath, some escaped or were rescued by aid organisations, and they rejoined the Armenian refugee community.

Almost a century later, in 2014, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) conquered the Sinjar region in Iraq and took captive thousands of Yezidi women and girls. Labelled ‘infidels’ because of their non-Abrahamic religion, they were forced to convert. Most were sold into sexual slavery amongst ISIS members. In the years following, they managed to escape from their captors or were smuggled out by family members, and they rejoined the displaced Yezidi community.

The exhibition asks: Who gets to tell the stories of genocide survivors, and how much control do they have over how their experiences are retold?


This exhibition is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), part of UK Research and Innovation, and the Ernest Hecht Charitable Foundation for the Holocaust and Genocide Research Partnership.


Important Visitor Information: This exhibition is not suitable for visitors under age 14, and includes descriptions of sexual violence. Photography is not permitted.

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