A new beginning for Afghan women artists

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New Delhi, Sep 9 (UNI) An exhibition of works of Afghan women painters on contemporary themes has opened here, the first time at international level.

Speaking after inaugurating the exhibition at Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts last evening, Ms.Gursharan Kaur, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's wife, said, "I am very pleased that this exhibition is the first display of paintings in India by Afghan women.

"I strongly feel that women have a crucial role to play in rebuilding and rejuvenating the social structure in Afghanistan as well as in articulating their opposition to gender discrimination," she added.

"It is important that we support and encourage every possible attempt by Afghan women to uplift and express themselves openly...the history of global development has shown that a society and a nation can develop in a multi-faceted manner, only if its women are adequately empowered and well educated," she emphasised.

The Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) has brought the exhibition to India. It will be in Kolkata from September 19-27 and then move to Italy, US, Spain and China.

Speaking on the occasion, the ICCR president Karan Singh said apart from being the first exhibition by Afghan women artists, it is also the first time that Afghan visual art has been given an opportunity to be exhibited at national and international level.

The artists are young students between ages of 16 and 25, who do not have academic training or private education. However, it has not hindered them from expressing their true artistic tendencies. The general message of the exhibition is one of hope, he added.

More than 80 per cent of these works reflect different dimensions of women's life in Afghanistan. This is a step towards building trust in Afghan society for women, an initiative to improve the social, artistic, and cultural status of women, Dr Singh said.

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