Salih Basheer: 22 Days in Between
I have only a few memories of my parents. I remember I was once with my mother in our house yard, and I was horrified by the noise of an airplane flying low spraying insecticide. I was trying to hide in my mother’s arms. I also remember I was once with my father as he was driving us in his white Fiat to the mosque for the Tarawih prayer. It was Ramadan and I went with my mother to the women’s section on the second floor to enjoy watching the prayers from above.–From the preface by Salih Bashee
Memories of childhood normally revolve around faded images of family gatherings, outings and outdoor adventures with friends. In the case of Sudanese photographer, Salih Basheer, those kinds of memories were eclipsed by the sudden and unexpected passing of his mother due to a serious illness followed by the equally untimely but accidental death of his father by a blow to his head while trying to quell a fight between two groups of people 22 days later. He was three years old when these events unfolded and was sent to live with his grandmother along with two of his siblings. Basheer pays homage to his absent parents and the void created by their deaths in a touching yet simple narrative in English and Arabic. The childhood drawings and archival as well as recreated photographs serve as both a tribute and memory book to purge the psychological wounds that Basheer incurred at such a tender age.
Salih Basheer (b. 1995, Omdurman, Sudan) is a Sudanese documentary photographer. During his studies of Geography at Cairo University, Egypt, he started as a self-taught photographer and subsequently studied photo journalism in Denmark at the Danish School of Media and Journalism.. He has been awarded several grants and prizes for his ongoing projects, and his photo stories have been exhibited in Ethiopia, the Netherlands, Germany, the United Kingdom, France, and the United Arab Emirates. Salih Basheer currently lives and works in Denmark. 22 Days in Between is his first book.
Follow Salih Basheer on Instagram: @salihbasheer, Follow Disko Bay on Instagram: @Disko_Bay_Books
The small red fabric cover of the palm sized book with its tiny portrait of the author at a very early age sets the stage for the childhood trauma that unfolds within. Basheer utilizes diverse elements in his psychic reconstruction of the events of his early childhood with written memories and contributions from his older siblings who manage to remember for him. One drawing by a child illustrates how his father met his fate with a blow to the head and a puddle of blood. Somehow the violence is tempered by the simplicity of the image. Other images he has chosen to illustrate his absence of memory are as fleeting, out of focus and ethereal as the situation in which he found himself as a child. The book concludes with a self-portrait that harkens back to the initial archival portraits of his parents that open the book causing one to flip back and forth in search of roots lost prematurely. It is a poignant start and finish to a touching tale.
Basheer also employs an interesting array of photographic techniques that evoke the confusion of a child attempting to make sense of things that defy explanation. He intersperses black and white images of a village, a ruined and empty home, and a distorted family scene with strong color portraits of what the viewer might assume to be his remaining siblings. There is no clear explanation of the characters in this drama just as there was none for the child of three.
As Basheer relates in the preface to the book, “My last memory of them was on their last day. I was on my way back from kindergarten with my brother. I was wearing a white shirt and carrying my bag. I saw people gathered in our house yard; they were all crying and there was a police car in front of the house. I can’t recall whose death it was, my mother’s or my father’s. These few remaining memories of my parent’s were seen through my eyes as a child.”
ABOUT DISKO BAY
Disko Bay is an independent photobook publisher based in Copenhagen, Denmark. We focus on talented photographers and Fine Art photography and are dedicated to exploring the possibilities of photography on paper. Disko Bay works closely together with photographers, designers and print makers to curate and craft unique books in very limited print runs. Our aim is to promote Danish photographers on the international scene of photography and in the world of photobooks.
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