Bissane Al-Sharif - "Women Memory"

Bissane Al-Sharif

After her graduation from the School of Architecture at Damascus University in 2000, Bisan travelled to France to continue her studies, achieving a Master’s degree in “Monuments and Museums” from University of Lyon II in 2001-2002. Bisan then specialised in the field of cinematography in the department of Higher Education in the School of Architecture in Nantes, France, and graduated in 2005. In 2008, she directed and designed a street theatre show in Damascus for the Damascus Festival, the capital of Arab culture, in which she utilised a system of huge machines. She has also participated in many technical production projects in Lebanon, Syria, and France.

She is a member in several arbitration committees for technical projects involving technical production and cinematography. She has also worked as a trainer on several interactive projects, including an interactive theatre and drawing project for children. Through her work in cinematography, in addition to her studies of space, she has gained a wealth of knowledge in technical production, dealing with size and mass, lightning, mechanics of movement, and various decorative materials. She maintains the freedom to choose all artistic projects and experiments with many artistic mediums, such as video. Moreover, this has enabled her to expand her ability to work both within a group alongside a theatrical team, and as an individual, as a Technical Producer. Bisan currently lives in Paris and works as a freelance artist in the field of cinematography and technical production. 


"Women Memory" Project

The project is a multimedia artistic production (video, sound, photography and text).

At its core, the project relies on documentation, spoken word, memories of physical spaces, times and events. The project is based on the idea of forced exodus and "transcription". It includes testimonials from several Syrian women and Palestinian Syrian women. The women who give their accounts came from several Syrian cities, are of different ages and come from different social circles; when they crossed the border to escape from Syria, they walked different paths, each leading in a different direction, and to a different country in the Arab world or in Europe.

The project leader, Bisan Al-Shariff, says: " I talked with these women about travelling away, and I discovered with them that, in spite of the events being recent, it was a difficult time to remember, either because of the speed in decision-making, the busyness of preparing for their departure, the difficulty of coping with a new situation and a new environment, or the lack of any desire to remember. We also talked about ‘home’ and stability, about losing ‘home’ with such finality, about personal belongings, what is left in Syria, and what they took with them.

Women Memory is my first experience in the field of "documentary production", and the project also dennotes part of my personal experience in the search for the meaning of ‘homeland’ and ’home’. " Lena, one of the women participating in the project, says: "There are some things in my handbag which I didn’t necessarily think I would take, but now they mean a lot to me.”

The paths and stories of the women are diverse and many, and their forms of displacement vary. Some of these journeys continue today as Syrians and their families continue to move between any number places, both inside and outside Syria. 

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