Artist Mariam Ghani and independent curator and director of Asian Contemporary Art Week, New York, Leeza Ahmady, discuss their work and activities dealing with realities and phantoms of contemporary art and life in Afghanistan. They also share their perspectives and participation in the unprecedented dOCUMENTA (13) exhibition and seminars in Kabul and Bamyan, Afghanistan (February-July 2012).
Ghani's work addresses issues of place, memory, history, and loss, as is poignantly seen in her recent video installation: A Brief History of Collapses, commissioned by dOCUMENTA (13). The piece traverses the ruined Dar-ul Aman Palace in Kabul, and the restored Museum Fridericianum in Kassel, Germany in parallel courses to explore similarities and differences in their structures, histories, and myths. Her research-based practice also framed her dOCUMENTA notebook publication that constructs a non-linear and somewhat speculative history of 20th-century Afghanistan, entitled: Afghanistan: A Lexicon.
Ahmady's dynamic role as a dOCUMENTA (13) Agent involved leading a series of workshops in Kabul spanning art theory, perspectives on international contemporary art, and the building of a critical art magazine. Her ongoing curatorial efforts to contextualize and exhibit works of artists in Central Asia positions her at the forefront of an influx of activities in the region, paving the way for extended opportunities for artists in their home countries and abroad.
Lead funding for the Asian Art Museum's Education and Public Programs is provided by the Bank of America Foundation. Major support provided by Douglas A. Tilden, the Koret Foundation, W.L.S. Spencer Foundation, Freeman Foundation, the Atsuhiko and Ina Goodwin Tateuchi Foundation, The Henri and Tomoye Takahashi Charitable Foundation, and AT&T.