Tag Archive: Afghan

Changis changes opinions

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PERSONAL EXPERIENCE: Dilara’s art is the reflection of his own life and vivid memories of his childhood in Afghanistan

PERSONAL EXPERIENCE: Dilara’s art is the reflection of his own life and vivid memories of his childhood in Afghanistan

Afghan art student’s work transforms his home country into a positive light

Dilara Changis is a research student of Afghan origin, currently studying for his masters in Contemporary Art at the University of Huddersfield.  

His exhibition, A glimpse of artwork from a conflict zone: Afghanistan’ portrays the work of artists from a country caught up in war.

WAR RUG:  The exhibited rugs were particularly thought provoking - having once featured emblems of the countryside they are now covered in military paraphernalia

WAR RUG: The exhibited rugs were particularly thought provoking - having once featured emblems of the countryside they are now covered in military paraphernalia

Dilara still has vivid memories of his childhood in Afghanistan, which inspires his research and artistic style, and influences the work he produces.  

He said: “My ideas are a bit dark compared to others, but it really connects with my personal experience and emotions and makes my work more effective and powerful.”  

The exhibition is the first of its kind to be featured at the University, offering a new perspective on a country with such an unclear culture and heritage.  It provides an amazing visual story of lives so different to our own cultural norms.

Though the Western world encourages freedom of speech and expression through art, fashion and culture, in Afghanistan and many other countries, harsh punishment can be the result of failing to adhere to strict social and religious codes of conduct.

The exhibition showcases works from contemporary Afghan artists and photographers, who are based in Australia and the US as well in Kabul, Afghanistan.  

Dilara said: “Surprisingly, three were female, which is really rare and unusual in terms of women’s rights in Afghanistan.

“Art is male dominated and women still have traditional roles there.  When I was interviewing them they would tell me ‘You have to be strong here. If you [as a woman] stay at home nothing will change’.”  

WEAVED WEAPONARY: “My ideas are a bit dark compared to others,” Dilara said.

WEAVED WEAPONARY: “My ideas are a bit dark compared to others,” Dilara said.

Often, Dilara would find the exhibited artists himself through social media and worked to build a relationship with them, which he still maintains - helping in any way he can to give their talents the chance to go beyond the troubled borders of Afghanistan.

‌As part of his project, Dilara asked visitors to take a short questionnaire before and after seeing the exhibition.  Before the exhibition visitors were asked: ‘What comes to mind when you hear Afghanistan?’– to which most replied: ‘Violence, conflict and oppression.’

Afterwards, they were asked ‘What do you think about Afghanistan now?’ – which received responses that included: ‘A country with rich complexity’ and ‘fascinating history’ -suggesting the display had a positive impact.  

“My exhibition was responsible for a big change in people’s views of Afghanistan,” said Dilara.

“From thinking of war and destruction they now think of culture and history because of what my exhibition has taught them.  I like to think of it as having given a cross cultural experience without the need to travel.”

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Displaced and deserted: Afghan refugees ‘at risk of being forgotten’ in own country

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HELP NEEDED: Over a million young and old Afghans have been displaced in their own country as violence continues to escalate since the withdrawal of British troops

HELP NEEDED: Over a million young and old Afghans have been displaced in their own country as violence continues to escalate since the withdrawal of British troops

Afghanistan is facing a ‘displacement crisis’ as the number of civilians trapped inside their own country dramatically doubled over the past three years, a new report by Amnesty International revealed this week.

Afghans already form one of the world’s largest refugee populations, behind only Syrians, with an estimated 2.6 million citizens living beyond the country’s border.

The latest published report finds that there are also a staggering 1.2 million people ‘internally displaced’ in Afghanistan today, a dramatic increase from some 500,000 in 2013.

Recent years have seen an escalation in violence in the country, as international troops – including UK forces - have left, and the Afghan security forces have fought for control against anti-government groups like the Taliban.

These changes have led to large-scaled displacement across the country with people fleeing the intensifying conflict, as the Taliban continues to grow.

Helmand province, said to be the most dangerous in the country, was where the majority of British troops were stationed throughout the 13-year US-led invasion and occupation of the country. 449 British military personnel died in the province during the war.

Since Afghan forces took over the battle against the Taliban, they have been steadily losing ground in Helmand, and as the conflict has escalated, more civilians have fled in search of safety.

There have also been growing reports of fighters claiming allegiance to the Islamic State armed group over the past two years. In the eastern province of Nangarhar groups apparently affiliated to Daesh have engaged in clashes with both pro- and anti-government forces in 2015, leading to the displacement of tens of thousands of civilians.

Champa Patel, South Asia Director at Amnesty International, said: “While the world’s attention seems to have moved on from Afghanistan, we risk forgetting the plight of those left behind by the conflict.

“Even after fleeing their homes to seek safety, increasing numbers of Afghans are languishing in appalling conditions in their own country, and fighting for their survival with no end in sight.

“All parties that have been involved in Afghanistan over the past 15 years have a responsibility to come together and make sure that the very people the international community set out to help are not abandoned.

“Afghanistan and the world must act now to end the country’s displacement crisis, before it is too late.”

Amnesty’s research found that, despite the promises made by successive Afghan governments, displaced people in Afghanistan lack adequate health care, shelter, food, water and opportunities to pursue education and employment, with most living in dismal conditions.

Mastan, a 50-yearold woman living in a camp in Herat, told the charity: “Even an animal would not live in this hut, but we have to.

“I would prefer to be in prison rather than in this place, at least in prison I would not have to worry about food and shelter.”

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