“At the Crossroads of Empire & Independence: Afghanistan 100 Years Later”
The Afghan American Artists and Writers Association (AAAWA) and the Glendale Library Arts & Culture department are soliciting submissions for an exhibit at Glendale Library’s ReflectSpace gallery in Glendale, California to run from November 2019 to January 2020. We seek submissions in the form of art (in all disciplines, including painting, sculpture, video, photography, film, fashion, new media, music, installation) and writing (including poetry, short stories, essays, and zines).
2019 marks the centennial of some of the first attempts to engineer a ‘modern Afghan state,’ following the third Anglo-Afghan War in 1919. Attempts to incorporate Afghanistan into the global scene produced a range of consequences, including political upheaval as well as progressive agendas around gender equality, civic life, and the media. Using the Centennial as a guiding theme, the curators seek work that addresses the ongoing consequences of foreign intervention, which are key to understanding Afghanistan’s current struggles to be self-sufficient:
- How can we think about Afghanistan’s ongoing civil conflicts, political turmoil, human rights struggles, and foreign allegiances as legacies of past imperial projects?
- How can we reflect on the political and cultural significance of this historical moment for Afghanistan and its diasporas?
- What futures for Afghanistan are possible when we think about foreign intervention as shaping the country’s political and cultural identity?
The exhibit expands the conversation beyond depictions of Afghanistan and its diaspora as either simply victims of imperial agendas or completely independent of them. Rather, it facilitates a space to creatively engage with how empire, colonialism and independence have affected what Afghanistan is today.
Submitted work may also engage the themes of:
- Occupation and colonial forms of exploitation
- Independence and the right to self-determination
- Modernization as a fraught political project
- “Watan” (homeland)
- Human rights
- Intersectional and transnational community building and political activism
- Race, gender, and class
- Speculative futures for the country and its diasporas
(A) 3 pieces maximum (Label submitted files: Lastname_Firstname_title_#)
- Writing may be submitted as a Word document or PDF file
- If submitting video, new media or audio, please include a link to the piece (and password if applicable)
- Visual art may be submitted as JPGs or PDFs. Please do not exceed 1 MB per file.
(B) 1 Word document labeled with your name including:
- Work description: Include the title of the piece, medium, dimensions and date of creation.
- Bio (no more than 200 words)
- Artist statement or project statement describing submitted work (no more than 200 words)
- Website and social media handles (if applicable)
Submit materials to firstname.lastname@example.org by July 7, 2019. We will notify applicants of the status of their submissions by August 2019, and will coordinate with applicants about the best way to feature their material in the exhibit space.
ReflectSpace is an inclusive exhibition gallery designed to explore and reflect on major human atrocities, genocides and civil rights violations. Immersive in conception, ReflectSpace is a hybrid space that is both experiential and informative, employing art, technology and interactive media to reflect on the past and present of Glendale’s communal fabric and interrogate current-day global human rights issues.
Downtown Central Library
222 E. Harvard St.
Glendale, CA 91205
The Afghan American Artists and Writers Association is a North American-based Afghan women-led collective that aims to give artists and writers in the Afghan diaspora a platform to feature their work to a broad audience through organizing events, community forums, exhibitions, creative workshops, and public commentaries. AAAWA seeks to amplify work that critically engages mainstream U.S. discourses around Afghanistan, where Afghan voices are either routinely ignored or reduced to cultural tropes. We hope this work can expand public understanding of the diverse ways of living and thinking that exist in the diaspora. Through showcasing the multiplicity of voices and experiences that exist within Afghan communities, AAAWA illuminates issues ranging from hybrid identities to gender and sexuality, to the multi-generational impacts of war, including the fallout of American imperialism and capitalism. We see ourselves connected through not only our ancestral ties to Afghanistan, but also through a shared vision for social justice for marginalized communities globally.