At the age of three, Salih Basheer lost his mother and his father in the space of twenty-two days. He left Khartoum to live with his grandmother in the small town of Al-Faw in eastern Sudan. Years later, when he returned to his hometown for the first time, the project of this first book was born, a sort of initiatory quest in search of the memories of his childhood and his family.
22 days in between is a book smaller than a hand, like a diary taken out of the pocket to write down every thoughts. This is how the sudanese photographer conceived his book, mixing photographs, images and archival documents, children’s drawings as well as texts invoking the reminiscences of these pivotal years.
Throughout the pages, sensitive snapshots and graceful portraits come in succession : the blurred fiery gaze of his older sister, the cemetery where his late parents were buried but whose tombstone cannot be found, a deserted classroom, a smiling girl… The memory work of Salih Basheer is very much connected to the earth, whether it be the mountains he played on as a child, the branches of a tree he liked to climb or the stones of the walls that witnessed his birth.
From the cover to the pages, the colour red infuses this book. It serves as a filter for a night view or as a background, for a self-portrait and later on for a branch of Grewia, a tree that grew in his grandmother’s garden. It appears again in a pool of blood or on an armchair. “Red is a string that connects my past with my present”: at the beginning of this project, Salih Basheer discovered images of his father, mother, siblings and himself, each taken in a studio with a red sheet in the background.
22 days in between is a hybrid work, just as its author who sees himself as « a storyteller, documentary photographer, photojournalist, visual researcher, and more ». This first book is as much a way to learn more about his roots as it is to heal from his traumas. By gathering these « fragments of a lost childhood », Salih Basheer was able to reconcile his past with his present.
Salih Basheer – 22 Days in Between
Pocket-sized linen-bound hardback with tipped-in image
11,5 × 16 cm
46 monochrome and colour plates
Text by Salih Basheer
Language: English and Arabic
Edition of 700
In all good bookstores and online