Featuring the work of art collective ArtLords and Afghan-Canadian artist Shaheer Zazai, Afghanistan My Love is a contemporary exhibition that demonstrates how art can be used as a powerful medium for connection during times of adversity. It will offer visitors a glimpse into an Afghanistan which is more than a physical place — it is a home, a memory, and an identity.
Embark on a journey through ArtLords’ past community murals painted all over the world as well as paintings rescued from their gallery in Kabul.
Visitors will also have the opportunity to contribute to the exhibition by participating in a community mural designed by the collective. Filled with imagery inspired by the people, culture, and nature of Canada and Afghanistan, the collaborative mural shows us how art has the unique power to unite people and inspire empathy and understanding. It shows us that creating something beautiful together can bring about peace.
Conceptualized in Microsoft Word, Shaheer Zazai’s mesmerizing patterns and designs explore the many layers of his complex cultural identity. A selection of Zazai’s digital works and carpets which are inspired by these designs will showcase the artist’s unique processes and his contemplations around what it means to be an Afghan away from their homeland.
Zazai’s carpets are the result of a collaboration with Afghan women weavers who not only transform his designs into a new medium but in the process, add their own individual voices. Through this creative conversation between the artists, flourishes such as flowers and colour changes were woven in to create new and unexpected artworks. The subtle changes in Zazai’s pieces are a testament to the unifying power of art created within the context of community and rich cultural histories.
Established in 2014, ArtLords is a global grassroots movement that combines art and activism to promote a message of peace, empathy and kindness in Afghanistan, South Asia and the Middle East through street art, theatre, and community outreach. ArtLords campaigns for peace, social transformation, and accountability in Afghanistan and across the world by sparking visual dialogue and making art accessible.
ArtLords was one of 10 finalists of the 2021 Global Pluralism Award conferred by the Global Centre for Pluralism.
Drawing inspiration from gardens and traditional Afghan carpets, Shaheer Zazai is an Afghan-Canadian multidisciplinary artist with a focus on exploring and investigating the development of cultural identity. Intrigued by the creative power that exists within limitations and parameters, Zazai’s intricate designs are conceptualized on Microsoft Word and woven in Kabul by a group of local women weavers.
Curator: Marianne Fenton