Sunday, February 24, 2008

Afghanistan Dialogue: Imagine art after

Imagine art after was a project uniting artists who originate from the same country but who are now geographically and politically separated. The project brought together seven artists who left home and now live in London, and seven who remained in the country of their birth: the artist who left, and the artist who stayed. The aim of the project is to open lines of communication where they would otherwise not exist, enabling artists to exchange ideas and work, and also to discuss their experiences in a online forum.

The artists taking part come from countries whose people, according to the Home Office, make an unusually high number of applications for asylum in the UK, among them Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Serbia and Nigeria. As well as their work being exhibited online, each artist will take part in a dialogue with their partner for six weeks.

By communicating about their experience in two very different societies, it's hoped that the artists' conversations with each other will lend insight into how life and art interrelate, and how identity is shaped by notions of belonging.

There was an exhibition of their work in Tate until first week of January. Unfortunately I missed to see it.

I was listening to a report on BBC where the Afghan project was described as exposition of two men. Some dialogues were great success but the Afghanistan didn’t pick up, the expositions were about two men’s belief, basically they were monologues. I am providing some details of the men below, frankly I could clearly see how these two men could be obsessed with their own views, they see themselves as very important person and don’t downplay their pair’s opinion as unrelated and something out of the context.

Some of the dialogues went very well if you look at the Serbian dialogue, they have done so much. Every night they have written quite a bit to each other. I am really disappointed to see that Rahraw only made one posting to Shapur, in badly broken English. They are clearly missing the point of art. It’s about expression and communication, which is best possible in a language you are fluent in. why aren’t they communicating in Farsi or Pashtu?

From Afghanistan was Rahraw Amarzad livening in Kabul was paired with Shapur Amini living in London.

Shapur was born on October 11, 1962 in Kabul. After graduating from Ghazi high school, he was offered a scholarship to study Photography, Television and Cinema in Tehran, Iran. Only a few months after my arrival in Iran, the communist coup took place in Afghanistan.

With the coming of many Afghans to the United Kingdom and the lack of Afghan organisations to assist them, in October 1991 he formed a community group called Afghan Academy, an educational, cultural and social organisation.

Rahraw Amarzad was born in 1964 in Kabul, where he continued to live and work as an artist, curator and lecturer.

He is the Director of the Centre for Contemporary Art Afghanistan, Lecturer at the Faculty of Fine Arts Kabul University and Editor in Chief of Gahnama-e-Hunar Art Magazine.

I think the reason the Afghans were held back is because the dialogue was public, therefore they have to hide some things and communicate in a language understandable for audience.

I like the dialogue between the Iraqis, it’s very tender and you can see how their point of view has changed. This is again not the case with Afghans. perhaps its between a woman and a man. i don't think its a good idea to put two muslim men together, espicially Afghan. its hard for them to open up.

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