Hrair Sarkissian, Last Seen, 2018–2021
Series of 50 framed archival inkjet prints, embossed, 40 x 50 cm. Commissioned by Sharjah Art Foundation.

Last Seen (2018–2021) is Hrair Sarkissian’s most ambitious project to date. Commissioned by Sharjah Art Foundation, it took over three years of research and travel to become realised. The fifty photographs on display evolve Sarkissian’s investigation of absence and the latent trauma that resides with those who have been dispossessed. Sarkissian visited numerous families of individuals whose family members have disappeared under ambiguous circumstances during moments of political turmoil and conflict. The images span a multitude of historical and political contexts from Argentina to Bosnia and Lebanon. Each image captures a place where the missing individuals were ‘remembered’ to be last seen by their loved ones, who continue to wait for news of their potential whereabouts and circumstances. 

Each frame is embossed with the disappeared person’s name and the year they vanished, functioning as an anti-monument and archive for the victims and their families. The pictures evoke the silence of domestic spaces—staircases and hallways, front yards and porches, all of which remain unchanged, in some instances for decades.

Hrair Sarkissian: The Other Side of Silence is organised by Bonniers Konsthall, Sharjah Art Foundation, and Bonnefanten.

Curated by Dr Theodor Ringborg, Artistic Director, Bonniers Konsthall; Dr Omar Kholeif, Director of Collections and Senior Curator, Sharjah Art Foundation; and Stijn Huijts, Artistic Director, Bonnefanten.