With contributions by Rawsht Twana,
Caterina Erica Shanta, Heba Hage-Felder,
and Nazand Begikhani
The Twana Archive project consists of the study, indexing, digitization, and documentation of Twana Abdullah’s photographic archive. Twana Abdullah was a photographer active in Iraqi Kurdistan between 1974–1992, and was killed on June 22nd. The archive, contains around 20.000 images and is currently under the care of his son, Rawsht Twana.
The public program will provide an introduction to the research process, the content of the archive, and the recent archival residency at the Arab Image Foundation in Beirut. The participants will reflect about the importance of such a photographic archive in illustrating the history of a community and the photographer’s practice in his particular social and political context.
The Twana Archive project is initiated and led by the Kurdish photographer and archivist Rawsht Twana, the Italian artist and film director Caterina Erica Shanta, and is coordinated by Grazia Sechi
Rawsht Twana is a photographer and archivist. He started taking photos in 2006 following in his father’s footsteps. In 2009, he started working as a photojournalist for Metrography – an independent photography agency based in Iraq – documenting social events through intimate and long-term projects in Iraqi Kurdistan. His images have been published in many international magazines and media outlets.
Caterina Erica Shanta is an artist and director. After an MA in visual arts at IUAV University Venice, she started working on moving images and documentary films. She makes movies based on private archives and collective film-making practices.
Heba Hage-Felder is the outgoing director of the Arab Image Foundation in Beirut. She joined the foundation in September 2020 and as of January 2023, she continues her engagement as a general assembly member. She has over twenty-five years of experience in institutional building and management of cultural and developmental initiatives, and holds a Master in International Relations. Born in Ghana, she grew up between West Africa and Lebanon. She currently oscillates between Bern and Beirut and is pursuing writing and visual storytelling.
Nazand Begikhani is a writer, poet and Vincent Wright Chair 2019/2020 Visiting Professor, Sciences Po, Paris. She published eight poetry collections in Kurdish, French and English. Polyglot, she has translated Elliot and Baudelaire into Kurdish. In 2012, she received the Simone Landrey Poetry Prize for her collection “Le Lendemain d’Hier” (Editions de l’Amandier, Paris 2012 – reedited this year by the French Poets’ Society. A feminist, Nazand is also an ardent advocate of human rights. She survived the Kurdish genocide and experienced the murder of many of her family members, including her three brothers. She rebuilt herself in exile where she created a space for freedom and creativity, becoming the symbol of resilience and resistance.
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