Musician and filmmaker, Ariana Delwari
photo credit: Jawad Jalali/ Afghan Eyes
Afghanistan is probably best known in the West for its poverty, oppression, terrorism, and ongoing conflict. It’s not untrue, but its not all that it is. Against this backdrop, are the dreamers and visionaries. Artists, musicians, innovators, activists, media moguls, and politicians. Just like any other country – the dreamers and the free thinkers are often those whose stories are quieter than the stories of violence and anger that shout more loudly. That doesn’t make them less powerful.
Afghan Dreamers is a partnership between Sharp Stuff who recently launched their first book project American Dreamers, and Mountain2Mountain. This is a project that amplifies the voice of these dreamers. That illustrates the hopes and dreams of Afghans living during another period of transition for Afghanistan. Forty years of war may have destroyed much in this region, but these stories, these dreamers, show that it hasn’t destroyed the pride and spirit of Afghanistan.
These are voices that need to be heard – they showcase the power, the spirit, the hope, and the creativity many assume isn’t possible in a country like Afghanistan. Its time to break that stereotype wide open and shout these stories out to the world.
Meet one of our dreamers, the artist Shamsia Hassani: Shamsia emerged from a joint graffiti art workshop, Wallords, that Mountain2Mountain supported in Kabul with Combat Communications and the English artist, Chu, two years ago. Already a faculty member at Kabul University’s Fine Arts Department, she has a strong vision on how art creates voice and how public art in particular creates beauty and conversation in a war-torn city. ”Every wall in Kabul has a bad memory attached to it. I want to paint beautiful images over every wall to erase the bad memories.”
Shamsia’s street art uses a theme of ethereal bluebird-blue burqa’d women and integrates the images of fish whose bubbles represent all the words not yet able to be spoken by women.
Other dreamers include the founder of Zarif Designs, Zolaykha Sherzad who dreamed of a clothing design line that took traditional Afghan fabrics and textures with modern designs, Afghanistan’s first heavy metal band District Unknown featured in Rolling Stone, the athletes dreaming of the Olympics, the Mayor that dreams of a greener Kabul, the female parliamentarian, the media mogul, the female activists, the entrepreneurs, and the comedian. Yup, what, Afghanistan can’t have a comedian?
We need your help to make this book project a reality. You can help amplify these voices and show the world that stereotypes need to be challenged, mind’s need to be blown, and our eyes and ears need to be opened. You can support this project on Rally.org and be part of the story. It takes the global community to hear these stories, believe in the dreamers, because it is the dreamers that will change the world!