Born in Tehran in 1976, Anoush Abrar arrived in Switzerland at the age of 5. Currently residing in London, he teaches at the Ecole cantonale d’art de Lausanne and pursues his own photographic work, driven by an appetite for constant renewal and exploration.
Encouraged by his parents to follow a path that did not suit him, Anoush reluctantly completed a degree in electrotechnology, then immediately decided to change direction. He studied photography at the Ecole cantonale d’art de Lausanne, where he earned a BA in visual communication followed by a Master in photography.
In 2003, Anoush’s work was selected at the International Festival of Fashion and Photography in Hyères, and he was awarded the Swiss Federal Grant, which gave him the opportunity to do an internship with New York magazine Visionaire. In 2013, he was notably a winner of the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize, exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery in London.
Anoush Abrar would like to travel to Kosovo and document the living history of their national hero, Adem Jashari, who died alongside 56 members of his family in 1998. With a descendant of the Jashari family as his guide, Abrar proposes to explore the implications of living with such a name, family identity, and history. He will photograph the daily life and document the plans for the future of the Jashari family.
“Adem Jashari was born in Prekaz, Kosovo, on November 28, 1955. He was one of the leaders and founders of the Kosovo Liberation Army.
With his brother Hamzën, Adem took part in attacks against the Serbian police and military. Yugoslav police and army forces attacked his home in March 1998. Adem Jashari died in the attack along with 56 members of his family. He holds the title “Legendary Commander of the KLA”. In 2008 he was awarded the title “Hero of Kosovo” by Kosovan Prime Minister Hashim Thaçi.
Adem Jashari is today known and recognized by all Albanians. In the 1990s he became an emblematic figure of the Albanian resistance against Yugoslav oppression. He devoted himself to his cause body and soul, to the point of giving not just his own life, but also the lives of more than 50 family members and friends.
I know a Jashari. I have been friends with Avni Jashari for over 10 years. One day he very simply and modestly told me about Adem Jashari and explained why the Prishtina airport carries his last name. The weight of this kind of story, which surrounds a family’s identity and descendants, left me speechless. I became interested in this story and asked lots of questions. Every time he came back from a trip to his country, I wanted him to tell me everything that had happened during his stay.
I would like to go to Kosovo with the goal of better understanding not just Adem’s story, but also (and especially) the story that has continued since the time of this legendary hero. I would photograph the people who were affected by this story closely and from a distance. How is this identity managed and experienced by members of his family?
I would try to understand the Jashari’s family tree. What became of his descendants?How has the city of Prekaz evolved architecturally around these historical symbols and pilgrimage sites?
I would photograph the Jashari cemetery and the Jashari home, which was also a battlefield for nearly a month. I would like to enter their day-to-day lives and photograph them as they go about their activities. What heritage did this national hero hand down to his Jashari descendants? And especially, what is their own battle today?
I would like to take a first trip to Kosovo by plane for a few days to soak up the environment and get a better idea of how I could carry out this project, and also determine what tools will be needed to make the documentary.
With the support of the Prix Elysée, I will go to Kosovo accompanied by my guide and interpreter, Avni Jashari.”