02 Dec 2012

Photos Exhibits, Kebab and Inspiration in Afghanistan

Why Afghanistan?

It’s a question that has come up a lot. I remember the first time I told Steve I was going, and he just looked at me, raised his eyebrows, shook his head and said, “whatever you need to do Brones.”

Going to Afghanistan is no small decision. It’s a calculated one. I was asked to head to Afghanistan at the end of October with Mountain2Mountain to help produce the Streets of Afghanistan exhibit, an offer I couldn’t turn down. It’s not the first place people most people would choose to travel, but thankfully, five public photo exhibits in and around Kabul went off without a hitch.

Upon return, it’s been hard to sum up the experience in only a handful of words. Afghanistan is many things. A conflict zone, a place of violence. It’s also beautiful, mountainous, and the sunsets seen through the dusty haze are some of the prettiest I have experienced. There are welcoming people ready to help you and invite you into their homes. It’s a place peppered with gems of inspiration in the midst of destruction. A conflict zone is not a cultural dead zone, in fact, it’s almost a blank canvas, ready for the birth of creativity. Supporting that creativity is supporting a flourishing society.

In the process of producing the photo exhibits, I met artists, designers, musicians, writers and activists. Doers. Afghans wanting change. They were open and welcoming and I have never experienced a better reminder for being grateful for my own community at home.

Travel is a look into another place, but it’s also a look into our own world, reminding us of what we have and the similarities we share with people that may live on the other side of the globe. Afghanistan is a conflict zone, but it’s also full of people living their everyday lives, going to work, going to school and doing so many of the everyday things that we as a world share, and that’s what we have to remember.

By Anna Brones

Top Image: Di Zinno