Telling Traces is a collaborative media art project between Aisha Jamal and Sarah Shamash that reimagines migration routes across the world through oral family histories.

Telling Traces subverts the western, colonial concept of the map and mapmaking from one that is well-defined and static into one that is subjective, porous, feminine, personal and political. Our project speaks to mass human and cultural movements in the past and present while interrogating oral history as a narrative form. We are interested in oral histories as shifting registers of testimonies, memories, myths, hopes, and dreams.

The project consists of three interrelated components: a multi-channel sound installation with video, a website, and a mobile application. All three components explore oral histories of familial trajectories from the Middle East to Canada.


The Artists:

Sarah Shamash is a Vancouver-based media artist.

Aisha Jamal is a Toronto-based filmmaker, programmer and college professor.



Project Creators: Aisha Jamal, Sarah Shamash
Audio Post-Production: Inaam Haq
Web Development: Rumiko Akai
Sound Installation Consultation: Peter Courtemanche
Additional Ambient Sound Recordings: James Webb
Translations and Voice: Dima Alansari (Arabic), Annie Sakkab (Arabic)
Carmel Amit (Hebrew), Sebnem Ozpeta (Turkish), Sarah & Yom Shamash (Portuguese), Gina Jamal (German, English), Hasina Jamal (French), Amina Jamal (Pashtu).

A special thanks to the women in our family who shared their stories with us. We would also like to thank Carlos ColĂ­n, Yom-Tov Shamash, James Webb.



This project was made possible with the support of a Canada Council for the Arts travel grant, a BC Arts professional development grant, and the financial support of the Ontario Arts Council Media Arts Grant. We would also like to acknowledge Makan Art Space and the Vancouver Park Board, Artist Fieldhouse Studio Residencies in Parks.


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