Yesterday we premiered the Streets of Afghanistan exhibition in the village of Istalif, a remote village in the Shomali Plain north of Kabul. Four years ago, I envisioned a collaborative photography exhibition between Afghan photographers and Western photographers that had deep affection for this country. Instead of a gallery show, I imagined surrounding the viewer in the image to bring the art off the wall, and into the viewers world. I wanted to see people’s reaction as they interacted with lifesize images and hoped that it would change American perspectives of Afghanistan – that if we saw it as a country with a beautiful spirit and culture that we would be more invested in it from a humanitarian perspective.
Yesterday I saw that vision come full circle as we brought the exhibition TO Afghanistan, among Afghans themselves to surround them with the beauty and spirit of their country and communities. 28 photographs lines 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.