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Elio Sassine signs his book “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Land”

With the aim of supporting children affected by war, Elio Sassine launches his book “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Land”, alongside an exhibition of his photographs and a video projection, at Beit Beirut (Sodeco) on Wednesday November 28. Organized by Cynthia Sarkis Perros, the book launching will go to support APEG (l’Association de protection des enfants de guerre”, whose sole mission is to protect all children affected by war. The book is available at most libraries across Beirut.

Elio Sassine’s book presents aerial photographs of Lebanon taken by drone, and which show an astonishing diversity of landscapes in little known aspects. Through this work, the reader discovers a “different” country, far removed from the clichés conveyed by war or holiday photos, a country whose richness is found in a quirky mix between a wild nature, a galloping urbanization, and ruins left to themselves. Out of it emerge atypical images, variable geometries, cities, villages, ports, valleys, mountains, all unrecognizable. Beyond the artistic value of these photos, some of them internationally awarded, the reader will discover above all a curious, loving, adventurous perspective on a country that continues to surprise and reveal itself again with each photograph.

Elio Sassine’s book hides another commitment, also with Lebanon in mind: supporting children affected by the war, through APEG. Founded in 1996, the “Association pour la Protection de l’Enfant de la Guerre’s” (APEG) medical and psychological centers were created following the Qana airstrike in South Lebanon, in order to help children who had lost several family members. Over the years, the centers became mental health clinics, the nation’s work in that field and with the underprivileged population being almost nonexistent.

In terms of numbers, the APEG means 9,100 children and adults taken care of, presenting all sorts of pathologies, between the 1st of December 1998 and July 31st, 2018, 64,500 consultations carried out, 700 children and teenagers reported by juvenile judges, for cases of neglect, incest and sexual abuse.

In 2008, the  French  Republic rewarded  the  A P E G  with  the “Prix des Droits de l’homme de la République  française” (France’s Human Rights prize).

Elio Sassine is first and foremost a psychiatrist, co-founder and vice president of the Association pour la Protection de l’Enfant de la Guerre (APEG). As such, he’s been working for over 25 years, alongside mental health professionals, towards more access to consultations, care, and clinics for as many children and adults as possible.

Elio Sassine has been practicing aerial photography with drones for the last few years. He has a preference for shooting ruins and abstract landscapes. His photos have been published in renowned specialized magazines, books and websites. He was recently awarded in France the «Espace pho- tographique Arthur Batut» prize for the «Vue d’en haut/Frontieres» international contest.

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