Shocking, intimate and often bemusing to outsiders, the modern art produced by a small group of young Afghans would come as a surprise to connoisseurs who stalk the galleries of New York, London and Tokyo.
At work in small studios and spare rooms in Kabul, they make pieces that seem far away from the harsh, practical world outside where many Afghans focus on surviving the bloody 12-year insurgency.
Picasso, Damien Hirst and Chinese dissident Ai Weiwei are among their influences, but they also admit that Afghanistan’s long war has had an inescapable effect on their work.
Arif Bahaduri, 22, uses medical plasters to make three-dimensional images at his $100-a-month rented studio in south Kabul, and he is now preparing a 30-minute piece of performance art.
“I can’t say exactly how it will go or what will happen, but it is an expression of my deepest inner feelings and identity.”
Bahaduri will present his live show later this month at the Afghan Contemporary Art Prize, an annual competition to encourage local artists to move beyond sketches of marketplaces and landscapes.
The art prize, which was established in 2008, will be judged by a jury of experts before the exhibition opens, with the winner receiving $1,500 and second place $800.
by Ben Sheppard, AFP first published at Art Daily