Rising Among Ruins, Dancing amid Bullets – Maryam Ashrafi

Rising Among Ruins, Dancing Amid Bullets is a photographic project I have been working on since 2012 in Iraqi and Syrian Kurdistan, to bear witness to the consequences of war, namely to the lives of civilians returning 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

Only with your help and support, we will be able to print this book and make it happen. 

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June, 16 2021 – Update
With your generous support, we have reached our first goal of 24,000 euros to start preparing and printing the book and I humbly thank you all, surely this was impossible without your help.

And of course, this book wouldn’t be complete without the texts from Allan Kaval, Kamran Matin, Carol Mann, Mylène Sauloy, and the preface by Gary Knight, and I am honored to have them in our team.

To complete the whole production of the book, we go on with a new goal to reach of 34,000 euros so as we can increase the number of copies available and as well deliver the US market.

Finally, I am pleased to announce that my work will be exhibited at the Prix Bayeux Calvados-Normandie, and that the book will be presented exclusively there. And that Hemeria take my project to Arles from July 4 to 18 with all the other books that it accompanies.

Again a thousand thanks for supporting me.
Maryam Ashrafi

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.

 

 

Extract from the layout.

“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 Ashrafi has 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

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.

 

“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.

 

 

 

Why did I choose Hemeria?

The Hemeria crowdfunding platform is dedicated to photography and allows photographers to self publish and finance the production costs of the books it produces for them. Hemeria guarantees excellence in the reproduction of images while favouring a fair remuneration for the work of photographers who also benefit from visibility in bookstores across France and internationally.
Hemeria also supports me by promoting my work and helps me to get it exhibited in photo festivals aiming to reach a wider audience.

 

More details on Instagram:

 

The total budget is 34,000 €. We hope to be able to exceed € 22,000!

 

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).

Follow Maryam on Instagram!

 

Size 21 x 27 cm, portrait
304 pages
300 photos B&W
Case bound book
Removable band
ISBN: 978-2-490952-15-1
Printed in France
Legal deposit: March 2021
hemeria.com
The book will be published in a bilingual version (French & English) for international distribution

In support of French organization reforestAction, for each copy of this book purchased on www.hemeria.com, a tree will be planted.

This project is supported by the Danielle Mitterrand Foundation.

Rewards – Depending of your reward, you will be able to choose one of the following images.
Group A

 

 

GROUPE B

 

 

GROUP C

 

 


Rewards

€25

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A copy of the book at a discounted price (59 € instead of 65 €).

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A copy of the book and a 13x18cm print to be chosen from group A. See photos from Group A at the bottom of the campaign description.

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Two copies of the book.

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Two copies of the book and a 20x30 cm print to be chosen from group B. See photos from Group B at the bottom of the campaign description.

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Your name on the acknowledgement page at the end of the book, the book in two copies and a 60x90cm print to be chosen from group C. See photos from Group C at the bottom of the campaign description.

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Your name on the acknowledgement page at the end of the book. A copy of the book. A photo print of your choice from the photographs in the book, available after publication of the book. A limited-edition print will be numbered and signed in a 60x90cm format.

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Your name on the acknowledgement page at the end of the book. Two copies of the book. A photo print of your choice from the photographs in the book, available after publication of the book. A limited-edition print will be numbered and signed in an 80x120cm format.

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