“Rising Among Ruins, Dancing Amid Bullets is a photographic project I have been working on since 2012 I seek with this work to bear witness to the consequences of the war. I am particularly interested in the lives of civilians faced with the issue of returning home once the city where they were settled is liberated and they can return to their homes after their cities are liberated, as well as to the daily life of the fighters behind the front lines while emphasizing the role of women in their ranks. » — Maryam Ashrafi
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“There’s also another side to war. Those doing the fighting also have to wait, often for many days or weeks, behind the front, before anything happens. Then, later, when the guns fall silent, there’s the strange immobility of the ruins. War is also these moments and these places, away from the noise of battle, where the fighting has stopped, or not yet begun. This is the world Maryam Ashrafihas found herself bearing witness to since first travelling to Kurdistan in 2012,an intermediary world, somewhere between life and death, a space that has pervaded the territory since the beginning of the confrontation between the Kurdish forces and Islamic State in 2014. Through the lens of her camera, she tells the story of communities shaped by the continual presence of guns, damaged by war but nevertheless forging a new collective existence. Alongside the Kurdish women soldiers, the photographer thus also tells the story of the transformation of the condition of women that the Kurdish movement has given rise to thanks to the unprecedented situations brought about by the Syrian civil war. ” Allan Kaval
I have chosen to stay behind the front lines and observe what is happening in these “grey” areas of war, with the aim to share the daily life of the soldiers and those who continue to live in the ruins, despite the reality of their predicament.
It is from this context that emotions and sensations arise, in simple gestures, poses, joyful dances and moments of intimacy. I wanted to make people forget my presence so that only the truth of the struggle and resilience of people remained.
Photos in the book are supported by texts from Allan Kaval, Journalist for Le Monde Newspaper, Kamran Matin, Associate professor of International Relations at Sussex University, Carol Mann, Sociologist and specialist in gender issues and armed conflicts, associate researcher at the University of Paris 8 and director of the Women in War association, Mylène Sauloy, who has documented the conflict in four different parts of Kurdistan, notably since 1998 in Rojava, with films, articles, exhibitions and a soon to be published graphic novel on Kurdish women in war.
Maryam Ashrafi is a social documentary photographer who believes in long-term projects. Her work puts a face on a widely commented war that remains distant and by the West primarily perceived in terms of the number of refugees.
Maryam documents the war in her own way, stressing its complexities and the effective construction of a new social model based on equality, with women occupying the same roles as men, contrary to the status quo in their part of the world.
That is why, over the years, she has returned to the same places, to show the unique power of people’s resilience and will to live and seek change, and it is her conviction that documenting conflicts and the consequences of war is vital for the provision of evidence and testimony necessary to be seen and known in the future.
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“The struggle of the Kurdish people and their fight for freedom and fundamental rights have not come to an end, and therefore this book cannot portray all of their journeys, nor shall I stop documenting what is still to come. Yet I believe, as a witness, I owe it to history and to those I have met for sharing some of these images in this book to show part of their journey to freedom and equality” — Maryam Ashrafi
About Maryam Ashrafi
Born in Tehran in 1982 during the Iran-Iraq war, Maryam’s passion for sociology led her to focus her interest on social and political issues. After graduating with a BA in Social Documentary Photography from the University of Wales, Newport, UK, she began to explore these issues in different regions, with a particular focus on the situation of Kurds in Kurdistan. For several years, she has been working on various subjects including refugees in Paris and the mobilization of the Kurdish and Iranian diaspora. Above all, as an independent freelance photographer, she covered the aftermath of the war in Northern Syria and Iraqi Kurdistan, notably in Kobane and Sinjar during numerous visits until 2018. Her work on Kurdistan has been the subject of several collective and solo exhibitions and publications including the Guardian.
Her long-term work on Kurdish issues has also led her to work as a camerawoman for documentaries such as I Am The Revolution (2018) and to direct and shoot her upcoming documentary in Iraq and Syria (To be released in 2021).
Musée d’Art et d’Histoire Baron Gérard – 37, rue du Bienvenu
Open everyday from 10am to 12.30am & 2pm to 6pm – Free
Maryam Ashrafi will be present at the book fair on Saturday, October 9 for a signing
|Dimensions||21 × 27 cm|
21 x 27 cm (portrait)
|Number of pictures||
300 photos Black & White
Printed in France
Bilingual (English & French).
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