The ArtLords Virtual Exhibition

Apr 12, 2022

We are excited to share beautiful work by ArtLords, a Kishti fund grantee

Curated by Omaid Sharifi

ArtLords was established in 2014. It is a global grassroots movement of artivists motivated by the desire to pave the way for social transformation and behavioral change through employing the soft power of art and culture as a non-intrusive approach.

ArtLords realized the opportunity for converting the negative psychological impacts of blast walls on the people of Kabul into a positive visual experience. By placing issues concerning ordinary citizens on blast walls, ArtLords has created a space where social issues can be expressed in a visual manner and discussed in the street, where open art workshops take place. ArtLords provides a platform for dialogue among ordinary people on the streets of Kabul. Giving a visual voice to the voiceless is the motivation behind the movement.

ArtLords promotes messages of empathy, kindness, and peace through the expressivity of arts and culture, to portray visual representations of communities’ desires to move from war towards peace. Creating a relationship between people and art, by bringing art to the people, allows for a much-needed psychological shift that opens minds to new prospects. The use of art opens space for “emotions without affiliation.” It stimulates critical thought and helps people understand that war is a commonly shared experience and only a common effort from within society can bring about peace in Afghanistan, South Asia and the Middle East.

ArtLords pursues an arts-based methodology that is conceptually grounded, coordinated with other civil society stakeholders and representatives, infused with a long-term perspective vis-à-vis the nature of social change, and responsible about evaluating effectiveness and impact. ArtLords thereby acts as a platform that allows for the use of the arts for specific tasks that measurably contribute to consent-building on any given subject, and that contributes to the positive transformation of society.

ArtLords is a pioneer and the first organization to start mural painting in Afghanistan. The organization has an underground office in Afghanistan, an office in Istanbul, Turkey, and an office in Virginia, United States. ArtLords has 7 employees and 53 artists.

www.artlords.gallery

www.letstalkpeace.org

The ArtLords Virtual Exhibition

Selected theme: Social issues

Afghanistan’s Broken Hearts
This artwork was created by ArtLords in the aftermath of the United States and NATO’s hasty withdrawal from Afghanistan in August, 2021. Many young Afghans flocked to the Kabul Airport from fear of the Taliban, for a chance to be evacuated by military planes. Some young Afghans desperately held onto US C-17 military airplanes as they were taking off. At least three young Afghans in their 20s fell from planes to their horrible deaths all over Kabul city.
ArtLords Street at Torino, Italy 
ArtLords murals were destroyed by the Taliban when they conquered Kabul…
ArtLords participated at the Paratissima in Turin, Italy, in 2021, where photos of some murals were exhibited.
Corruption and Waste in Afghanistan’s Security Forces
A street-working kid paints a mural of an armored Land Cruiser vehicle with tires made of Afghan bread in Kabul city in 2019.
The message of the mural was that this car costs around $100,000 and is very common among military and police leadership, but most of Afghan soldiers do not have enough to eat, or proper shoes and ammunition to stand up against terrorists.
911
This artwork was created in 2011 in response to the war and violence in Afghanistan and Iraq since the incident of 9/11 in New York.
Unsafe Immigration 
This mural was painted in Kabul in 2016, a part of ArtLords’ public campaign against unsafe immigration and the dangers of young Afghans leaving through dangerous routes to reach Europe.
Remember the Flight
This artwork was painted in Bern, Switzerland, 2021, in response to Taliban’s ban on the education of Afghan girls.
Seek Education from Cradle to Grave
This mural was painted in Nangarhar, Afghanistan, 2017, to encourage young Afghans to seek education—to choose a book instead of guns and drugs.
I will build you my homeland
This mural was painted with Afghan refugees and students in Turin, Italy, in 2021. It is part of ArtLords’ ongoing global advocacy for Afghanistan’s artistic and cultural heritage and Afghan people’s rights.
Ghulam 
One of the famous games known and played in every household in Afghanistan is playing cards. The (J) is called Ghulam in Dari/Pashto. Ghulam means slave/servant. This artwork was designed with images of Mullah Omar, Taliban’s deceased leader; Hamid Karzai, Afghanistan’s former president; Ashraf Ghani, Afghanistan’s president who escaped in August, 2021; and Abdullah Abdullah, the former chairman of the peace council. This artwork indicates that these so-called leaders are serving foreigners and playing games with the future of Afghanistan.
Transformation
This artwork is based on a famous photo, and ArtLords have transformed the Talib soldiers’ guns into crayons and pencils.
Mural of Hamida Barmaki
Human rights commissioner Hamida Barmaki and her family were killed in a suicide attack in January 2011, which was claimed by Hizbe Islami of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. This mural was painted in front of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar’s house in Kabul after he accepted a truce and came to Kabul. The aim was to remind him of his victims. The mural was destroyed by Hekmatyar’s gunmen after a few hours of being there.
Buddhas of Bamyan
The widely-renowned world-heritage site that is home to the Buddhas of Bamyan was bombed and destroyed by the Taliban in 2001. ArtLords painted a mural in remembrance of the Buddhas in Kabul in 2018.
Established in 2014, ArtLords is a global grassroots movement of artivists motivated by the desire to pave the way for social transformation and behavioral change through employing the soft power of art and culture as a non-intrusive approach. ArtLords realized the opportunity for converting the negative psychological impacts of blast walls on the people of Kabul into a positive visual experience. By placing issues concerning ordinary citizens on blast walls, ArtLords created spaces where social issues can be expressed in a visual manner and discussed in the street, where their open art workshops take place. ArtLords provides a platform for dialogue among ordinary people on the streets of Kabul, giving a visual voice to the voiceless, which is the motivation behind the very existence of the movement. ArtLords is a pioneer and the first organization to start mural paintings in Afghanistan. The organization has an underground office in Afghanistan, an office in Istanbul and an office in Virginia. ArtLords has 7 employees and 53 artists.