3 August marked the poignant anniversary of the fall of Sinjar, an event so traumatic for the Yazidis that several women had marked it in tattoos on their skin. It was the date that they were taken into captivity and the last time they saw their many of their loved ones.
Following the fall of Sinjar ISIS massacred thousands and took large numbers captive, many of them women and children. One of the Yezidi women who took part in the art project had been captured and sold to 15 different men.
On the day of the anniversary we went with the Yezidi women who had taken part in the art project to Lalish, their holy temple in Northern Iraq.
The Yezidi women asked if they could paint a banner to carry together in Lalish, on this day of unspeakable grief for the Yezidi people.
The banner depicts Mount Sinjar and many Yezidi people fleeing up the mountain when ISIS invaded. On the right-hand side you can see the cars being stopped by ISIS and dead bodies beside the road. Emblazoned on the banner are the gold star and the Peacock – symbols of the Yezidi religion. There is also a painting of Lalish, their temple, on the left-hand side.
The Yezidi women painted this banner as they wanted to express something of the suffering of the Yezidi people and also the true beauty that their religion represents.