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Art in the Time of War

By Ellen Maidman-Tanner

"Death to Darkness" by Shamsia Hassani

Chapter President Holly Stone was kind enough to share this recent article on Afghanistan’s first female artist recently on our Facebook group page. I have been walking around in sadness, previously generated by the resurgence of Covid (due to stupidity), the on-going, growing ravages of Global Warming (yes, that is its true name), the earthquake and the follow on storm in Haiti (one of the most beset nations on the planet) and then, all of that was topped off by the rapid rout of the Afghan army and the (re)takeover by the Taliban. And then I saw this article:

I was bowled over by the bravery and determination of Shamsia Hasani, and her will to continue to capture images of women in her art, to remind the world of what is at stake with the latest horrific events. I asked myself if I would continue to create work that, within the realm of prior history, could get me imprisoned, tortured, and killed. It also reminded me of the tremendous power of visual imagery, crying out for recognition of the plight of the women of Afghanistan.

Hasani has posted her images on social media. If there is a saving grace here, it is that those images will be seen by thousands, perhaps millions in our crazily connected world. We know the Taliban uses and monitors social media. The Taliban desperately wants both international recognition and substantial financial aid to bolster their country, and they know they will not get that if they behave as they did 20 years ago. The dire need for the women of Afghanistan to be recognized and supported is given a great boost by the bravery of Shamsia Hasani and the simple beauty and fragility of her emotional work.

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