Shirin Abu Chaqra
About her work
Working primarily as a filmmaker, alongside some of the region's most distinguished filmmakers and video artists, her filmic interests are spearheaded and driven by her earlier research on social and cultural transformations in the Arab world. It is precisely this, what is clearly reflected in poetic moving images, conceived as lyrical essays between ruin and representation, archaeology and anthropology, and primarily narrative questions, what places her at the forefront of the region's artists working on video. Her photographic work, along the same thread, investigates impossibilities of the emotional kind on specific historical axes where inquiry has been declared closed. The scattered worlds and misplaced objects, inherited from the European filmic tradition of the 20th century merge with Arab history and music to present an image of modernity saturated with humor, surrealism and curiosity. The fantastic is not for Abu Chaqra in the beyond, but at the very heart of investigating the real.
Shirin Abu Shaqra was born in Doha in 1978 into a Syro-Palestinian family; a Lebanese and Canadian citizen, Abu Shaqra lived in Montreal, Alexandria, Istanbul and Cairo and currently resides between Paris and Beirut. Shirin holds a master's degree in history and a DEA in Political Science from Saint Joseph University Beirut (USJ), and received her master's in fine art from the Fresnoy, National Studio for Contemporary Arts, in France.
Prior to her involvement in art, Abu Shaqra worked for eight years researching socio-cultural changes in the Arab world at the Centre for Modern Arab Studies (CEMAM – USJ) whereby she published several academic articles.
As a filmmaker, she has completed four films, including the poetic essay “Hold on, My Glamorous” (34’) which won the best film award at the Lebanese Film Festival (2009) and two short animation films: “Walking Distance” (2008) and “Conversations with Change” (2010). The artist is also working on her first feature film.
In 2013 she took part in the duo exhibition “Some Body to Love”with Ali Cherri at Galerie Janine Rubeiz.