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The ‘Streets of Afghanistan’ photography project returns home

The ‘Streets of Afghanistan’ photography project returns home


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In 2008, Mountain2Mountain launched the Streets of Afghanistan project. After touring the U.S., the exhibit of 29 10×17 photographs now returns to its source.

STREETS OF AFGHANISTAN premiered in the remote village of Istalif, on the Shomali Plain north of Kabul.

Four years ago, I envisioned a collaborative photography exhibition between Afghan photographers and Western photographers that shared a deep affection for this country. Instead of a gallery show, I imagined immersing the viewer in the images, to bring the art off the wall and into the viewer’s world. I wanted to see people’s reaction as they interacted with life-size images and hoped it would change American perspectives of Afghanistan — that if we saw it as a country with a beautiful spirit and culture, we would be more invested from a humanitarian perspective.

Two weeks ago, I saw that vision come full circle as we brought the exhibition to Afghanistan, to Afghans themselves. 28 photographs lined the market streets outside of the mosque on the first day of Eid in the village of Istalif, and the reaction was nothing short of amazing.

“The very creation of art is in itself an act of optimism.”
– Lana Wachowski

1

Setting up...

the exhibition itself is an enormous task. It takes two people to assemble each image, a lot of muscle and stamina to move the exhibition into place, and a lot of ingenuity to keep them composed on 4x4 roads. Luckily, our team had all of that in spades.All photos: Tony Di Zinno

2

Many people...

expressed their doubts about the feasibility of pulling this off in a country like Afghanistan. Many more questioned the value of taking such a risk for 'art'. Would Afghans understand it? What's the point of doing this in a war zone? It's not worth the risk. What that really means is they think Afghans aren't worth the risk. That because this is a country fraught with conflict and poverty, art doesn't have much importance. I disagree. I think art is all the more important here. So when I was asked, often, "Is it worth it?" ...

3

I answered...

HELL yes. Beyond a doubt it's worth it.

4

Seeing men smile...

and laugh while pointing at the images and talk animatedly with each other, and to have old men with elaborately turbaned and ancient faces tell me "thank you" in halting English, makes me prouder than anything I've ever done in this country.

5

We watched...

young boys look at a photo of a busy Kabul street for 20 minutes as though they were right there -- never having seen such a scene in person.

6

More importantly...

we were treated with honor and grace from the entire village. Invited to lunch, for tea, and with multiple offers to spend the night with families. The same response I have been beyond blessed to experience in many other Afghan villages, proving time and time again: Hell yes. It's SO worth it. I'm honored to bring this show to Afghanistan. I'm honored to showcase another side of Afghanistan back home. Yeah, it's worth it.

What did you think of this story?


Watch the video: Farzana Wahidy: Life for Women in Afghanistan


Comments:

  1. Abran

    Completely I share your opinion. Thought good, it agree with you.

  2. Tezragore

    A woman wants a lot, but from one man, and a man wants one, but from many women. You have one good thing: that divides the butt to the butt. Frequent woman Smoking is harmful, drinking is disgusting, but dying healthy is a pity The inscription under the stop-valve in the subway train: If you feel lazy to go, pull this fucking thing. We didn't finish at the universities !!! Do not unbutton your trousers on someone else's mouth! Win95 is like an airplane - sick, but nowhere to go! Fenita fucking comedy

  3. Aglaral

    I can recommend you to visit the website which has many articles on the subject of your interest.

  4. Nimi

    Very much a prompt reply :)



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