Exhibitions , San Francisco

Hrair Sarkissian: Homesick

Photographer Hrair Sarkassian produced a scale model of his apartment building in Damascus, Syria, where he lived with his family prior to moving to London (in 2011).  Although millions have fled the country, some remain in Syria. His parents have so far refused to leave and still live in this building. In the series Homesick, the building is slowly destroyed, resembling others in the Damascus that have been damaged in more than five years of conflict that erupted from pro-democracy protests in 2011. The sequence represents not only Sarkissian’s anxiety about the well-being of his parents, but a fear of loss of his family home, and the instability of their country and collective memory. The building has already been damaged by nearby explosions several times—windows shattered and replaced. Perhaps this series is preparation for the worst, but it’s also a way to make vivid how the personal can be inextricably intertwined with the geopolitical moment.  And just as Syrian refugees have been labeled as “undesirables” by the current government administration in the US.