Photographer dusts off, highlights Afghan women’s beauty forgotten amid war

June 15, 2021 - 18:50

TEHRAN – Tehran-based Afghan photographer Fatimah Hossaini has put the spotlight in her latest collection on the beauty of her homeland’s women that for years has been hidden under the rubble of war.

The collection named “Beauty amid War” is currently on view in an exhibit at the Iranian Artists Forum in Tehran.

“I was born in Tehran in an Afghan family and when I lived in Afghanistan for four years, I noticed the beauty of women amid war that had never been featured before by any media,” Hossaini said in a press release.

“The lives of the women pictured in ‘Beauty amid War’ are full of stories and they have been photographed over three years since 2018,” she added.

She noted that the collection has been amassed mostly in Kabul, because the conservative attitude and restrictions on photography in other cities thwart any attempt at artistic activities.

She put her life in danger several times to set the stage for her collection. “In many regions, such as in Nangarhar, you wouldn’t even dare hold a camera,” she said.

Hossaini said she has never tried to hide the violence of war in her photos by means of a staged setting.

She also asked Iranian officials to settle the problem of ID for children born in refugee Afghan families in Iran.

“The identity crisis for me and my generation is a big problem,” she lamented and expressed her hope that Iranian officials will find a solution to the problem.

“When I visited Afghanistan years after living in Iran, I realized how much I’m an Iranian, however, I do not feel good about this since I have an Afghan passport,” she said.

In a statement for the exhibition, Hossaini wrote, “The image of Afghan women is now blackened by successive wars, as we constantly talk about war and perhaps have become accustomed to their symbolic presence with blue burqas or even their absence.”

“The women in these pictures are full of high hopes, resistance, liberation and stories that have never been told. These images are real, however, with a temporary arrangement. The faces of powerful and beautiful women who have been forgotten, and the beauty of that place are far from the eyes of the world.

“This is the only moment of the image of an Afghan woman that must be watched frequently to remove the stereotype of looking down on women and illuminate the minds of the audience with the radiance of this perpetually denied beauty.”

The exhibition will be running until June 21 at the Momayyez Gallery of the Iranian Artists Forum.

Photo: Art enthusiasts visit photographer Fatimah Hossaini’s exhibition “Beauty amid War” at the Iranian Artists Forum in Tehran. (Photo by Ehsan Talebzadeh)  

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