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Three-Nation Art Show Opens in Kabul

October 31 (EURASIA INSIGHT): The Turquoise Mountain Foundation (TMF) has brought together contemporary artists from Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan. The show -- titled Living Traditions, and containing 50 pieces by 15 artists from the three countries – opened October 11 in the restored Babur Gardens of the eponymous Mughal Dynasty founder.

The exhibition is scheduled to run through November 20.

"The three countries [represented in the show] share a strong bond, particularly in art and in the way Islamic calligraphy and painting evolved," said Montagu. "These traditions can and need to be adapted if they are to survive."

Of the 15 artists who contributed their work, five were present at the opening. Among those in attendance was a young Pakistani couple, Muhammed Imran Qureshi and Aisha Khalid. A professor at the National College of Arts in Lahore, Qureshi saw participation as an act of faith.

For Khalid the decision to come was impelled by her desire to challenge western stereotypes of women from this region. Khalid's exhibits center around the theme of the 'burkha,' whether it is a graphical pattern of the ruffle of the hem or how it outlines the shape of a woman. "I want to question the stereotype that goes with the image of a burkha," she said.

For Iranian Khosrow Hassanzadeh, this visit was the first step in what he hopes will be a continuing regional collaboration. Hassanzadeh, who has shown his work in many western capitals, said "this is more important than showing in New York. We have a shared tradition and it is important for people here to get an idea about their own rich culture."

Zolaykha Sherzad, an Afghan designer who has been interpreting traditional Afghan design in contemporary form, saw immediate similarities in the works coming from across borders: the use of calligraphy, the use of certain colours, the use of gold were present in many of the art works in the exhibition, she said. Sherzad, who divides her time between New York and Kabul, said this exhibition was a way to find common ground.