Women's Rights

Women showcase their ability, creativity at art exhibition in Kabul

By Hamza

Afghan women display their paintings at an exhibition December 12 in Kabul. [Hamza/Salaam Times]

Afghan women display their paintings at an exhibition December 12 in Kabul. [Hamza/Salaam Times]

KABUL -- Despite the restrictions imposed on women in Afghanistan, a group of 10 female artists showcased their artwork at an exhibition in Kabul last week.

The December 12 exhibition aimed to address those restrictions and give hope to women and girls while displaying their talents.

"This one-day exhibition was held under the name of 'women, ability and creativity' in which more than 60 pieces of art by 10 female artists, demonstrating artistic abilities and creativity of Afghan women, were displayed," said Sayed Mohammad Naseer Hussaini, director of Sada e Hamwatan Culture and Art Foundation and organiser of the exhibition.

"Following the recent developments and changes in Afghanistan, restrictions were imposed on education and work, as well as on the social, artistic and economic activities of women and girls," he said on December 12.

"We are holding today's exhibition to address these restrictions, encourage and give hope to women for their increased social and cultural activities, develop their artistic capabilities and depict their abilities and talent."

"Afghan girls and women face economic problems due to the imposed restrictions," he said. "Another goal of the exhibition was to find a market for their artworks so that female artists can sell their paintings and other artwork and address their economic problems."

"At the exhibition, in addition to other artwork by women, four major pieces of artwork were displayed," Hussaini said.

"One of them was a school painting, showcased in protest of girls' school closure. The second one was of a peace garden, which demonstrated the desire of Afghans for peace and security, while the third one showed the economic challenges and poverty of families, and the fourth piece was a picture of the explosion in Sayed Al-Shuhada school in west Kabul in which dozens of students were killed [in May 2021]," he said.

Raising girls' voices

The continued closure of girls' schools, the challenges and restrictions women face, and the pain and suffering of women were common themes of the artwork on display.

"After the closure of secondary schools, I could not continue my studies as I was in 10th grade," said Homa Rajabi, 16, who turned to art after the closure of schools.

"Therefore, I started painting one year ago, and today I showcased my artwork, which shows the problems, pains and sufferings of Afghan girls and women," she said.

"I showcased two of my paintings, one of which shows the continued closure of girls' schools and their deprivation from education, and the other one shows the killing of students in an explosion near their school," Homa said.

"I raise my and other Afghan girls' voice through my art and call on the current power holders and the world to open the doors of girls' schools and allow women to be active in society," she said.

"It has been more than a year that schools are closed for us," said Fatima Tahiri, 18, one of the artists who had showcased her painting in the exhibition.

"My soul and psyche have been badly affected at home," she said. "I turned to painting one year ago, and today I depicted and expressed the restrictions imposed on Afghan women and girls and my demands and those of other girls through painting."

"As long as my demands are not met, I will continue my activities through paintings to ensure the rights of girls and women and I will not allow anyone to eliminate us from society," Tahiri added.

Fariba Haidari, 16, a 9th grader at a school in Kabul, also turned to painting after the closure of schools for girls.

"Through painting, now I show to the world that despite the imposed restrictions and closure of their schools, Afghan girls can deal with challenges and problems they face through different means," she said.

Women's artwork welcomed

"In the current situation where Afghan girls and women face social challenges and restrictions, holding an exhibition of girls' artwork in which their abilities, creativity and talent are displayed is appreciated," said Atifa Hussaini, a women's rights activist and a visitor to the exhibition.

"This is a good opportunity for developing their talent and a valuable step towards ensuring the rights of Afghan girls and women," she said.

"Today Afghan girls and women need support, freedom and mental peace more than at any other time," Hussaini said. "Holding such exhibitions give girls hope of their presence again in society and ensuring their rights."

Sara Dawlatshahi, another visitor to the exhibition, said she saw all the paintings and artwork displayed.

"The artistic talent of girls is commendable," she said. "In addition to demonstrating their artistic abilities and talent, female artists also depicted the deprivation of girls from education and showed the pain and suffering of Afghan girls and women to the world."

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The information shows that Mrs. Al-Fahri inherited the money for this university from her father, who first built a mosque called Al-Qaraween. A madrasa and later the same center became Al-Qaraween University, which gave many cadres during the Golden Age of Islam and trained scholars. After that, until now, no country in dozens of Islamic countries in the world has closed the doors of schools and universities on the face of girls even for a day. Kabul University was the first university in Afghanistan that was established in 1932, 90 years ago, during the reign of His Highness Muhammad Nadir Shah, when Afghanistan began to move towards reconstruction after severe destruction. It has provided thousands of male and female staff to the society, but it is not yet known that this and other universities in Afghanistan will remain closed to girls.


In continuation of their extremist measures, the Taliban have indefinitely closed the doors of universities and higher education institutions to Afghan girls. The Acting Minister of the Ministry of Higher Education, Sheikh Neda Muhammad Nadeem, has signed a statement stating that all emirate (public) and private universities and institutions should urgently implement the order to suspend the higher education of girls and give assurance to the ministry. The Taliban have taken this action not only now but in their first period. They also said that they banned girls from education until the second order, but from 1996 to 2000, when the global coalition toppled them, the Taliban did not allow girls to study. We, the Afghan nation, believe that this group receives orders from Pakistani intelligence agencies to stop civil and modern programs in Afghanistan and then implement them. With their short-sightedness, Afghanistan is not only able to move forward at the pace of an ant, but it is also taking the country backward in ignorance. According to historical documents, the world's first university was established in Morocco in 859 AD, i.e., 1163 years ago, by a Muslim woman, Fatima al-Fahri.


This work has already been done in the western world, but in the Arab world, an Egyptian woman named Sarah Sabri wants to go to space. For me, it is good news that a Muslim woman is going to space for the first time. This shows that what men can do, women can do it too. It is true that physically women are a little weaker than men, but it is known that women can do what men can do. The point here is about talent. We also have different talents in Afghan society. If these talents are worked on and developed, I am sure they will give good results for the country and society. This art exhibition in Kabul is an excellent example of women displaying their handicrafts. It is hoped that the Afghan rulers will open girls' schools in Afghanistan so that men and women can be trained in various fields and the country can prosper.


The Taliban should also learn from these women what art means, what talent means, what it means to work, what it means to earn a livelihood in a halal way, and what is the meaning of education and education. When he thinks about this, he will know what life means, what patriotism means, and what we should spend our time on in life. These women have shown their talent, but I wish the rulers of the time would understand what they want from them and what women can do in society. Afghanistan is rich in underground resources, but due to the lack of education and skills, no one has extracted these resources. If someone has taken it out, they have used it for their benefit. As our resources are still in the same state, our minds have not been trained to be used to build the country. In the past 21 years, people's thoughts were ready to work for the country's construction, but with the help of America and Pakistan, the Taliban took over Afghanistan, and what was in our minds, it turned black like the ashes left from the barn. Afghan men and women are ready to work and make their country competitive with their competitors. Still, unfortunately, the Taliban destroyed everything, and this idea will never be revived again because the Taliban suppressed the people and did not let them work. They don't care about convincing them at all.


Such an exhibition shows the sad pictures of girls whose schools were closed. The pain of Afghan girls shows that the gates of the schools are closed. Each of these pictures shows the oppressed faces of the girls. Girls and women, continue your efforts and this picture shows your face of innocence. You women and girls may work in any art that you are interested in and have enough access to. Do not be afraid of any kind of restrictions in achieving your arts. You can show your voice to the world by showing your pictures as well. You women and girls try hard not to waste your time at home. Try to learn handicrafts, embroidery and sewing and study your lessons at home. Make yourself the teacher of your little brothers and sisters and encourage them to be interested in going to school. Your sisters should not think that they will stay home after a few years. Maybe they think that we should not go to school anymore. In this case, you should encourage your younger sisters to go to school and study in the right way. This situation will not stay like this. The countries of the world are negotiating with the current government of Afghanistan to save Afghanistan from this crisis and open the gates of girls' schools to girls again. No one can ignore your rights girls. The government of the Islamic Emirate is responsible to give you your rights in the right way.


The way these women have displayed their artistic works and talents, the Taliban should also show their abilities to Afghans and the world. The Taliban should open girls' schools without delay and give women and minorities a share in the government. However, giving a share to minorities does not mean giving a place to former criminals and corrupt people like Atta Muhammad Noor, Ismail Khan, Zahir Qadir, Humayun Humayun, Abdullah Abdullah, Yunus Qani, and Sayyaf. New and young cadres should take place in the government, and Mullahs should free themselves from Pakistan's intelligence agency clutches. Instead of relations with Pakistan, Afghans should establish direct relations with America, Europe, and the rest of the world. Pakistan is the enemy of Afghanistan and never works for the benefit of Afghans. China is like a hungry dog that can't feed its people, then what will it do us any good? Russia has the example of a mad donkey that bites on itself. Ukrainians were Russians' race or cousins, but Russians attacked them shamelessly, killed thousands of innocent civilians, and turned Ukraine into ruins. The Taliban must understand that the way to save Afghanistan is to establish relations with the Western world, especially the United States and the European Union. Of course, there is one thing that both the Taliban and the Western world should be interested in. Suppose they do not stop Pakistan's terror factories as soon as possible and choose an aggressive policy instead of a de