Multidisciplinary artist, historian, and filmmaker, Shirin Abu Shaqra is born in Doha to a Lebanese father and a Syrian mother. She lived in Beirut, Paris, Montreal, Alexandria, Istanbul and since September 2020 she left Beirut for Cannes.
Shirin received her MFA with honors in 2010 from the Fresnoy, National Studio for Contemporary Arts in Tourcoing, France. Before entering the artistic field, she finished a master in History (2004) and a Diplome d’Etudes Approfondies (DEA) in Political Science (2006) at Saint Joseph University Beirut (USJ). She worked for eight years as a librarian and a researcher publishing several academic articles at the Centre for Modern Arab Studies (CEMAM – USJ).
In 2017 she participated in the Lebanon Factory, a program that inaugurated the Fortnight section in the Cannes Film Festival. That same year she finished “What Happens to a Displaced Ant?” A 40’ epistolary film inspired by a five months emergency mission with Doctors Without Borders in the Mediterranean. Other than filmmaking, Shirin also does mixed techniques video and sound installations, ‘musical voyages’ for exhibitions.
In her artwork, she uses History for its collective memory, music for its Dionysian effect, and animation for its distanced wit. Thematically, exile and disembodiment are omnipresent elements, love and kinship a constant concern.
She was working on her first feature film and a solo exhibition both related to the 19th century author Ahmad Fares al Shidyaq, when the Lebanese Revolution, Economic Crisis and Explosion made it obvious that for the time being, what is most pressing, is working for Lebanon and with a collective of activists in the fields of arts and culture. Her first feature film and solo exhibition will be inspired by Ahmad Fares al Shidyaq life and writings.
Shirin Abu Shaqra is represented by Galerie Tanit Beirut.