Friday, June 21, 2024

Marzha/Borders, a contemporary Afghan visual art exhibition in Adelaide

Immigration News

Khaama Press
Khaama Press
Khaama Press is a Kabul-based independent and non-political news organization established in 2010.


Report by Kazim Darwish and Najibullah Mozaffari – Photos by Ahmad Akhlaqi

Marzha/Bordersexhibition launched at Nexus Arts gallery on Thursday 11th June. Elyas Alavi, an Afghan poet and artist based in Adelaide, Australia, curated Art works of five leading and emerging contemporary Afghan artists including Khadim Ali, Mohsen Hossaini, Sher Ali, HamedHasanzada and Kubra Khadimi.

The exhibition’s opening; formally started by Elyas and Khadim Ali’s talk, followed by short Q&A panel. Elyas Alavi spoke about his journey between the borders, escalation of war and exclusion on his early childhood, which forced him and his family to leave his homeland Daikondi in Afghanistan. The curator himself as an Afghan Hazara in diaspora and all of these contemporary artists whose works were exhibited; have experienced somehow geographical, ethnic and religious borders. “I was only 6 and half years old when I heard the word Marz border for the first time, it was after 3 months we forced to leave Daikondi province. We stayed 7 months in United Nation’s camp along the border before entering Iran”, said Elyas Alavi in his talk.

Khadim Ali is a prominent Hazara artist based in Sydney who talked about his art and drawing. Khadim Ali’s arts are manifestation of Shahnama, a 50,000 –verse written by Ferdawsi. A book, which is telling the story of epic battles between Rustam and demons. Khadim used to see himself as Rustam in his childhood, but later as he studied more about Hazaras and himself; he realised that his people are a manifestation of demons, which he read them in Shahnama. The demons were lived in caves; Hazaras were also living in caves next to Buddha’s statues in Bamiyan. Demons were considered as infidels and Hazaras were also called infidels by king AbdurRahamanand Taliban regime. Therefore, Khadim started to paint the demons.


The artists have explored their imaginations by selecting different era. The whole imitation and observation is the persecution, living in exile and crossing borders when fleeing the country. The Afghans particularly Hazaras have experienced the most barbaric acts in different periods of the history. The exhibition named Borders to explore different socio-political limitations that exists and changed to a culture in Afghanistan. The artists have carried out these intolerable social and cultural issues in forms of painting, drawing and performance  artworks. The perception from one’s eyes and how they experience life in their homeland delivers the true social, cultural and political practices which in this exhibition; those inacceptable and controversial social issues were obvious in the artist’s performance.

Mohsen Hossaini is a well-established Afghanartist. He mainly paints figurative and abstract figures. In his art figures are blended of foetus and bleeding figures. He describes, that three main elements are shaping his artsand figures; First, homelessness, a man without a country, the bullet that gets fired from a gun and streets of Kabul.

Two videos of Kubra Khademi’s performance were also a part of this exhibition. Kubra Khademi a performance artist based in France on her latest performance in streets of Paris; walks bare foot for hours while caring a bundle of clothes describing to have pains of Afghan women on her shoulder.

In HamedHasanzade’s painting, the figures were chained and have no way to freedom. Figures are isolated between past and present, between modernity and tradition.

Khadim Ali is Hazara artist in diaspora who was born in Pakistan but now creatively illuminates the facts happened to his people in the history and even happening now. In this exhibition 3 paintings were from Khadim Ali which 2 of them were completed collaboratively by Khadim and Sher Ali a Kabul based Hazara artist.

Despite of many challenges and restriction, lack of government and organisations’ support in Afghanistan, Afghan artists ambitiously working hard, particularly those who belong to minority groups. Though this exhibition is a very small part of Afghanistan’s temporary art, but it encourages the Afghan artist and supports their artwork to enter in international art galleries. Support of Nexus Arts is huge appreciation to contemporary Afghan artists to break the borders and bridge the cultures.

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