Hrair Sarkissian


Hrair Sarkissian’s photographs reflect on personal memories, using subjectivity as a way to navigate stories that official histories are unable to tell. Using traditional documentary techniques in large-scale works, he engages the viewer in a profound consideration of what lies behind the surface of the images, thereby re-evaluating larger historical or social narratives.

Sarkissian’s work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at Davis Museum, Wellesley College, US (2017); Sursock Museum, Beirut (2017); KADIST, San Francisco (2017); Fondazione Cari Spezia, La Spezia, Italy (2015); Mosaic Rooms, London (2015) and Darat al Funun, Amman (2013). Among his group exhibitions are The New Europe, Brighton Photo Biennial (2018); IN THE STILL OF THE NIGHT, Fotohof, Salzburg, Austria (2018); Flatlands, Museum of Contemporary Art and Design, Manila (2017); Age of Terror, Imperial War Museum, London (2017); 10th Bamako Encounters, African Biennial of Photography, Bamako, Mali (2015); 56th Venice Biennial (2015); Time, Conflict, Photography, Tate Modern, London (2014) and Museum Folkwang, Essen, Germany (2015); 3rd Thessaloniki Biennale of Contemporary Art, Thessaloniki, Greece (2011); Out of Place, Tate Modern, London and Darat al Funun, Amman (2011); and 11th Istanbul Biennial (2009).

Sarkissian’s work can be found in the collections of the Utah Museum of Fine Arts, Salt Lake City, US; Mori Museum, Tokyo; Tate Modern, London; Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Modena, Italy; Fondazione Cari Spezia, La Spezia, Italy; Sharjah Art Foundation; The Khalid Shoman Collection, Amman and The Farjam Collection, Dubai.

Sarkissian’s awards include the Abraaj Group Art Prize, Dubai (2012) and a Steenbergen Stipendium, Nederlands Fotomuseum, Rotterdam (2010).

He holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography from Gerrit Rietveld Academie, Amsterdam (2010). Born in 1973 in Damascus, he is currently based in London.

SAF participation:
Sharjah Biennials 14 and 10

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Sarkissian, Hrair

Execution Squares

The series Execution Squares was photographed in three Syrian cities – Aleppo, Lattakia and Damascus – in the early morning, which is the hour that criminals are executed.