Sawsan  AlSaraf

My life experiences as an expatiate Iraqi woman have acute pertinence to the work I create, and have transformed me from a tender soul whose love was naively tied to one place in the world into a strong woman whose love extends to all places. The decision I made to leave my homeland, Iraq, a quarter of a century ago, has shaped my lived history, and formulated the unstable and shifting terms that make up my past and present. It is in this dispersed life, which was spent in many geographic landscapes between the Middle East and North America, that I traveled 53,037.83 miles in 21,345 days. This Rihla (journey) leads me to not only analyze my own life stories, each of which is dictated by a specific time and place, but also to be closer and more sensitive towards people who live similarly scattered lives.

I believe that my responsibility, as an artist of Iraqi origin, occupying a mobile space in society, is to perceive things that are invisible to others. It is this position that enables me to be analytical towards my lived history. Being conscious of how political events deeply affect the psychology of beings in global societies increases my awareness of the world around me. It also assists me in formulating questions that convey how diasporic living is poetic. Most importantly, I question how to represent the conflicted inner lives and nomadic experiences of other displaced individuals.










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