Paper puppet testimony


Sherko’s project is based on the Red jail in the city of Sulaymaniyah, which was a symbol of Saddam’s era of executions, imprisonment and torture of Kurdish dissidents.

Sherko’s vague memories of seeing a caravan after the Red jail was broken into when the city was liberated in 1991 stayed with him. At the time, Sherko was almost 11 years old when he saw the caravan with colourful women’s clothes, underwear, anti-pregnancy tablets and other materials. This left its impact on him, and years later he wanted to inquire further into this story and bring it back to life. Since 2008, Sherko has been trying to find documents and hints to recover some information. This caravan was seen for a few days during the uprising in the courtyard of the prison. It later disappeared without a trace; not even a memory or a story of it remains. The Red jail, its notorious history, its ugly architecture and formation have mystified Sherko, therefore he has been searching for evidence about various stories related to this building which is now a museum. 

For Sherko, art is a platform to showcase reality and bring these events back, to give them a space and a voice, and to memorialise and document them as part of the history of Red jail.  The name of this his documentary is Paper Puppet Testimony, which recounts the stories of women in prison through experimental documentary.

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