“Feeling As I Do” is a self-portrait and memorial created following the November 2015 bombings in Paris and Raqqa. By creating a fiction plea from Syrian singer Asmahan to French singer Edith Piaf, I was able to give myself a voice even though it was not my own to encourage others to consider the role their voices play in giving voice to others who are not present.
I chose to keep the image of my body invisible, to stay in solidarity with people whom are unseen, erased or forgotten in the aftermath of violence and during times of mourning. Even though tragedies like the Paris bombings create opportunities for global connection and solidarity, they also highlight the political power of mourning as they are a moment where we reinstate or redesign our empathy with and hatred of others.
By juxtaposing French propaganda film of military planes preparing to bomb Raqqa (Syria / ISIS) with ISIS propaganda film of a military parade in Raqqa, and civilian footage from Raqqa, I highlight the hypocrisy of French and ISIS’s violence and ask viewers to expand the scope of their sensitivity and to focus on the essential issue of protecting all human life.
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