I stumbled upon the exhibition while visiting The Art Of The Quran exhibition at the Sackler Gallery. The hexagon gazebo seating in the middle of hall was so beautiful - I want that in my backyard! The woodwork, the jewelry designs, the carpet weaving, ceramics, and calligraphy were all so, so beautiful! Before we get to the photos, lets catch up on the background of Murad Khani.
The Murad Khani district of Kabul city in Afghanistan harbors a treasure trove of art, architecture, and cultural heritage. Afghanistan fell prey to severe civil turmoil and political unrest in the 70's and was robbed of its grandeur. Talented individuals that once contributed to its majestic heritage had to flee the country and take refuge in neighboring lands where their creative potential was lost. In 2006, Turquoise Mountain, a British NGO backed by HRH The Prince of Wales and the President of Afghanistan itself initiated the creative transformation and revival of the Murad Khani district. It had been reduced to a slum. Turquoise Mountain's efforts breathed a new life into the district by resurrecting its infrastructure, establishing basic civic amenities, and reviving the artistic legacy of Afghanistan.
This exhibition at the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery in Washington DC was a beautiful experience of the sights and sounds of the Murad Khani district prospering with the skills of the artists supported by Turquoise Mountain.
Little Maryam and I tried our hands at weaving an Afghan carpet.
The woodwork on those pillars is hand-chiseled. The workers spend meticulous hours carving intricate patterns.
It is remarkable how the shattered surroundings of Murad Khani were transformed to such delicate, beautified art pieces. Here's a compound that was the showcase of the exhibition. I found a before and after photograph on Instagram. The woodwork on the pillars and arches of this compound was all there on the gazebo.
Art is like true love - it makes everything that it touches beautiful. If only everyone in the world would realize that and put an end to war.