Ann Lesley BarTur Award
Maryam Ashrafi is a Paris-based Iranian photographer. Born in Tehran in 1982 during Iran and Iraq war, Maryam is impassioned in sociology, which led her to focus her interest on social and socio-political issues in countries around the world. After graduating with a BA in social documentary photography from the University of Wales, Newport, she began to explore these issues, particularly the Kurds' situation. She has been working on different subjects for several years: refugees in Paris, the Kurdish and Iranian diaspora mobilisation, and the Indignants Movement in Paris. Above all, as an independent freelance photographer, she has covered the aftermath of wars from Kobane in Northern Syria to Sinjar in Iraqi Kurdistan, until 2018. Her work on Kurdish resistance movements has been the subject of several exhibitions and publications, including the Guardian. Her first book; "Rising among ruins, Dancing amid bullets", which has won the PrixHip in Reportage & history category, was published by Hemeria, a French publisher in September 2021, documenting the consequences of war and the lives of civilians returning to their homes in Northern Syria and the autonomous Kurdistan region of Northern Iraq. Her long-term work on Kurdish issues has also driven her to work as a camerawoman in documentaries such as "I Am The Revolution" and her first documentary film; "Eternal Sentinel" was released in April 2022 and has been selected for official competition in Figra Festival and PriMed Festival in France and screened at the Warm Festival in Sarajevo.
Rising Among Ruins, Dancing amid Bullets
Northern Syria and the Autonomous Kurdistan
2012 - 2017
Rising Among Ruins, Dancing amid Bullets is a photographic project I have been working on since 2012 in Iraqi and Syrian Kurdistan. It aims 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. These images are part of my book under the same title.