Anardana: Stories of Dado

This is an ongoing body of work as I document my time spent with my grandmother, whom I call Dado.

Dado is never able to remember what she did five minutes ago, yet she's able to recount stories from over 50 years ago. Dado has lost her 7 day old daughter, her 20 year old brother and her 60 year old husband. The scars of these losses have never healed, but she has held onto Islam as a source of peace. Now as she turns 86, I have begun documenting her stories through stills and video. A slow, but surely intimate process, I am working on a short film between just the two of us, *Anardana.

Most importantly, this personal project is not just to document her stories, but it's to use these moments of creating images together as a way to keep her mind going and eyes smiling. To me, this series is imperfect. Given the nature of her health as she ages, it's a slow process. Creating this project is also an act of connecting with each other. As I have learned more about the pains of her life, it's pushed me to remove any worries out of her way. We are creating a moment together. We are creating an unexplainable energy of love and matriarchy together. To me, that is a form of art itself. 

*Anardana an Urdu word translated to pomegranate seed in english, is a fruit of Paradise mentioned in the Quran. Pomegranates are also known as a symbol for fertility and death. 

Shaista Shahnaz aka Dado, 1941.


These portraits of Dado will be paired with archival family photos and other images that reflect the stories of Dado. 

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