Brown and yellow colours of pain in Afghanistan

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New Delhi, Sep 11 (UNI) Brown and yellow colours are prevalent in the art of Afghan women for whom pain had long been bottled up and voices suppressed.

''Brown and yellow are the prevalent colours in my works.

These two colours of the atmosphere and environment describe the lives of a majority of Afghan women: the time they spend all their life in a four-walled room with ceilings covered with wood and from birth to death, they are in custody of these colours,'' says Nabila Horakhsh, who was in town for her painting exhibition, the first ever in the history of Afghanistan, told UNI.

''On the other hand, I wanted to express the monotonous environment and limitation in which a majority of women live their lives in Afghanistan. The life, in which there is rarely any brightness, hapiness and hope,'' she added.

Had fate not willed otherwise, captivity of four walls would have remained their destiny forever and a day.

Caught in the vortex of Taliban rule and war, the agonies of women of Afghanistan were manifold.

Came 2001 and the fall of the Taliban, heralding hope and improvement in and the political and cultural position of Afghan women.

And for a bunch of them in stepped three alter egos -- colour, brush and stroke -- and it felt as if all sluice-gates opened and they found an outlet to give vent to their pent-up feelings.

Shackles were finally broken and fetters thrown off as they stepped out beyond the confines of four walls.

Sufferings found their spillway. Eventually.

''During the rule of the Taliban (1996 - 2001), women were treated worse than in any other time or by any other society. They were forbidden to work, leave the house without a male escort, not allowed to seek medical help from a male doctor, and forced to cover themselves from head to toe, even covering their eyes,'' Ms Horakhsh said.

''Women, who were doctors and teachers, were forced to be beggars and even prostitutes in order to feed their families.'' She said: ''I am happy that day by day things are changing.

People are becoming open-minded and girl child is being given preference in some families. Several schools have been opened for providing education to girls.'' Asked if she faced resistance from her family for her idea to shape her own identity, she added ''Initially, there was tough opposition, but at last my confidence won. At length, I was able to persuade my parents...and today they are happy with the way my career is shaping up.'' Another painter Ramzia Tajzada said despite changes in the situation in Afghanistan, many challenges still remain. The repression of women is still prevalent in rural areas, where many families still restrict their mothers, daughters, wives and sisters from participation in public life. They are still forced into marriage and denied basic education. Numerous schools for girls have been burnt down and girl children poisoned to death for daring to go to school.

''Through my work, I have tried to awaken the obscured emotions of women. I have reflected the injustice towards them and their rights. I use dark colours as they depict melancholic days and times. I want to express people's pains because our country has tolerated miseries and lost all it had during many years of war,'' she said.

Sheenkai Alan, who was also here for the exposition, said, ''The only emotion I want to illustrate is the love for my mother, without whom this would not have been possible. There's no doubt that the agreement and encouragement of my father also have had a particular role in my improvement.

''I believe that today's world has a particular attention focused on women which can provide employment opportunities for educatd women, therefore, I, being a baccalaureate, can also foresee a bright tomorrow.'' UNI ATI RP DS1307

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