Afghanistan has been a land of over 30 years of wars and struggle. The people of Afghanistan are an incredible mix of cultures and a representation of thousands of years of traditions from the far East to Europe. Afghan artists have something to offer and express than others don't have. No one can replicate their past and deep cultural struggles. What can be a diplomatic nightmare for politicians and bureaucrats can turn into an inspirational dream for artists.
Ambassador Sacirbey, former foreign minister of Bosnia, often expresses the concept of "Diplomat Artist". Bosnia's recent past of war and genocide has given birth to some of the most inspirational artists and filmmakers in the current history.
Coming from Florence and moving to New York City, I find one common denominator, which is the incredible amount of art, artists, museums and galleries. At Film Annex and Citadel of New York, we are now building schools in Afghanistan with Internet classrooms. We are looking towards the future, but we must preserve this amazing cultural experience. We are not archeologists or scholars of anthropology, but we must nurture the mind of the artists, and allow their work to be seen and appreciated internationally.
In addition to using the classrooms to open the doors of the World Wide Web to millions of young Afghans and children of Central and South Asia, we can look at those classrooms as an “out-bound” point of contact for Afghan artists so they can express and promote their message.
Film Annex and Citadel of New York are looking for contemporary Afghan artists to promote in Central Asia, the USA and the rest of the world. Once we identify the artists, we will do the following:
1- Interview the artist in writing and on camera, in their native language or in English,
2- Film their studio and work when appropriate,
3- Run art shows in Afghanistan and film the events, even if very private and closed to the public,
4- Evaluate the purchase of various pieces and open the possibility of a consignment program for shows in New York City, Florence and/or Kabul.
The first step is digital and we start with:
Artists are innovators, but also struggle and explore areas where others fear to be. Once the artists' "digital presence" is established, we work with the art pieces or installations and ship them where and when needed. For each artist, we will have contracts of representation in the US and New York City to start. We will run shows and document them, in our studio in New York City, as well as in various galleries, and consolidate the artists' reputation on an international level.
One of the first artists' work I collected in my recent past was of Cindy Sherman. Her message was universal then. Especially today, in support of the women of Afghanistan, it is incredibly valuable and inspirational. It is not a coincidence that Iranian artist Shirin Neshat, "which explores notions of femininity in relation to Islamic fundamentalism and militancy in her home country", chose New York City as her home.