My House in Falluja
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Open Shutters Iraq

Every once in a while a project so successfully portrays the universality of human emotion that it is both admirable and timeless. "Open Shutters Iraq" is one such project.

Visually stunning and wonderfully constructed, this is one of the most remarkable works I have seen about Iraq, appealing to neither a sense of pity or revolt, but simply looking at Iraqi women as they are – beings full of creative potential.
- Caecilia Pieri, author BAGHDAD ARTS DECO

OPEN SHUTTERS IRAQ is a remarkable photography project, during which a group of women came from five cities in Iraq to live and work together in a traditional courtyard house in the Old City of the Syrian capital, Damascus. There they learned to take photographs and at the same time, presented their ‘life maps’ to each other, unearthing memories and telling stories, which had remained buried for 30 years in the course of just trying to survive devastating years of war, dictatorship and sanctions. In the end, they had woven together the threads of their individual lives into a collective fabric. The women then returned to Iraq, to make photo-stories. They shot hundreds of photographs, each imbued with the sharp emotional truth of lived experience.

In Iraq a sense of hope is not easy, but this intimate, moving film is ultimately hopeful; charting the process of the Open Shutters Iraq project, it shows how people, traumatised and silenced by the ‘un-making’ of their world, can sometimes re-assert a sense of existence with an act of creative articulation.


A documentary film by Maysoon Pachachi
102 minutes, In Arabic and English with English subtitles


A dual-language (Arabic/English) book of the photographic work produced by the women, who took part in the OPEN SHUTTERS IRAQ project, published by Trolley Books in the UK in the spring of 2010, and available through Trolley Books, Amazon or at bookshops.