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Photopaper 19
Sonja Hamad

Sonja Hamad

Sonja Hamad

Issue 19
Jin – Jiyan – Azadi Women, Life, Freedom
Sonja Hamad
Kasseler Fotografie Festival

Nominated by Hannah Zufall.


16 Pages
210 x 290 mm
ISBN Not Available


T h e y
say that death by a
woman’s hand blocks the way to
paradise for potential martyrs. That might be
the case since more and more Kurdish women are now
taking part in the resistance against IS. They give up their
old names and choose a new one in an initial act of autonomy
and becoming Haval — a friend of the others. They risk their lives
on behalf of a country that has never existed, yet of which every
Kurdish person knows the location of its borders; that narrow strip of
a homeland, wild Kurdistan, a mountain and valley, a place of longing
that gets attacked from every angle. However, it is not only about their
survival, but more about a self-determined existence, about their freedom
and independence. Sonja Hamad’s pictures show these young women,
almost girls still vulnerable and utterly determined at the same time.
Who believe sincerely that they can be stronger than those men by
whom they had been suppressed for decades. They all carry
their scars like awards. And once in a while, colourful
shirts, seeming almost childish, come to the
fore from under their uniforms.


About the Artist
Sonja Hamad was born in 1986 in Damascus, Syria, to Kurdish Yazidi parents. She studied photography at Ostkreuzschule in Berlin. In 2013 she started the project Jin, Jiyan, Azadi — Women, Life, Freedom. She was able to undertake her documentary work in Northern Iraq in March 2015, followed by a trip to the Kurdish Women’s Protection Units (YPJ) and the PKK in Northern Syria.

About the Journal
PHOTOPAPER is a new kind of monographic photo publication with a continuously changing editorial team of international experts. These guest editors name photographers or photographic projects which they would like to present to an international public. PHOTOPAPER features this work in single monographic issues of 16 or 32 pages. The main idea is to make high-quality printed photographic work accessible to as many people as possible by producing the final publication at a reasonable price. Therefore, the production process is reduced to a minimum while at the same time using high-end printing technology and a nice paper. Published on a quarterly basis.

About the Publisher
The Fotobookfestival Kassel is a charitable foundation that has been engaged with the artistic medium of the photobook and has presented it in all its facets, since 2008, in a festival program of international standing. The annual festival shows works by renowned artists and promotes established and emerging talents, publishers, designers, printers, curators and booksellers on an international platform. It was the first festival of its kind dedicated to the photographic book and has founded two novel book awards: The KASSEL DUMMY AWARD for the best photobook mock-up of the year has awarded emerging talents a complete photobook-production since 2010; the KASSEL PHOTOBOOK AWARD assembles the best photobooks of the previous year nominated by international experts in the field. Books entered for both awards are showcased regularly in travelling exhibitions at international festivals and photography events. These two awards are unique in their formats and have been role models for other international festivals and events.

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