White Faces. Reframing memory
2017- on going
by Yadgar Bakir
directed by Linda Dorigo
language: Kurdish (Sorani), English
technical requirements: video projection, installation, exhibition, live music
Iraq waged war against Iran from 1980 to 1988. During the last years of the conflict, Saddam Hussein planned a genocide against the Kurds and other minorities in northern Iraq, and called this operation Al-Anfal.
The acts of violence were often perpetrated in very private domains. The soldiers used to raid houses to find documents that could prove the ties between regime-fighting peshmerga and the Kurdish civilians. Hundreds of photos were burnt, cut or made disappear by family members – usually by mothers – for personal safety reasons. Once family memory was erased, the traces of the collective identity of a population that has always lived in the shadow of history disappeared too.
At the time of Al-Anfal, Yadgar was four years old. A few years ago, he found the fragment of a photo that depicted him. A piece was missing, so he asked his mother what she had done with it. She cut it away because, just beside him, one could see the kalashnikov of a peshmerga. At that time Yadgar decided to rebuild his own past, asking family members to describe the original photographs and their story. Thanks to such tales, Yadgar is now recreating those photos.
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