DBPFP 2024: Hrair Sarkissian 

Colour photograph of a snowy landscape scene

DBPFP 2024: Hrair Sarkissian 

Colour photograph of an indoor swimming pool

Hrair Sarkissian is shortlisted for the exhibition The Other Side of Silence at Bonnefanten Museum, Maastricht, The Netherlands (29 November 2022 – 14 May 2023). 

Hrair Sarkissian’s (b. 1973, Syria) conceptual photography focuses on deeply personal narratives that reflect the complexity of larger historical and social issues. In The Other Side of Silence, ostensibly serene landscapes and calm urban environments become stages for accounts of trauma and the expression of underlying socio-political realities. Born and raised in Syria, the grandson of Armenian genocide refugees, much of Sarkissian’s work can be seen as an exploration of the hidden emotional nuances that permeate the lives of diverse diasporic communities.  

Sarkissian’s practice, characterised by his austere, large-scale photographs, moving image works, sculptures, sound works and installations, oscillates between the creation of meditative dreamscapes and haunting deathscapes. In these spaces, the originally excluded muted voice is briefly offered room.  

Drawing from personal memories and interactions, and extensive research, Sarkissian aims to evoke emotional experiences, foster awareness and a sense of solidarity. His work offers the opportunity to consider what official history conceals, and the potential for re-writing it. 

About Hrair Sarkissian

Hrair Sarkissian is one of today’s leading conceptual artists working with photography. He started his training at his father’s photographic studio in Damascus and uses photography, moving image, sculpture, sound and installation, to create large scale exhibition environments. Sarkissian is on the Advisory Board of the Arab Image Foundation in Beirut. His 2020 exhibition at The Modern Art Museum of Forth Worth was the first solo exhibition of a Syrian artist in the United States. Selected recent exhibitions include the British Art Show 9, the 14th Sharjah Biennial, the Brighton Photo Biennial, the Sursock Museum in Beirut, the Imperial War Museum in London, the Baltic Contemporary Art Centre in Newcastle, the 10th Bamako Encounters African Biennial of Photography, the Armenian Pavilion at the 56th Venice Biennial (awarded the Golden Lion), Tate Modern in London, the New Museum in New York, and the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo.