In the course of our research in May 2011, we have had the chance to meet a number of inspiring people who contribute to the re-construction of Afghan civil society through cultural practices. Here is an excerpt about the Foundation for Culture and Civil Society from our article on Creative Kabul published on Domus in December 2011.
“In a crumbling villa on the outskirts of Kabul, Timor Hakimyar, director of the Foundation for Culture and Civil Society, maintains that, against the evidence of military operations, one of the values that creative practices can construct is also that of democracy. The foundation was set up in 2003 for the purpose of educating the population (with a 43 per cent male, and 12.6 per cent female literacy rate) in the civic practices of political engagement through the visual languages and instruments of art. Cinema and strolling theatre, strip-pamphlets and story- telling, public discussions and information stalls are the foundation’s means to rebuild democracy from its grass roots, in step with the people, not with politico-military negotiations. Timor Hakimyar is convinced that art and creative practices are vital to the struggle against obscurantism and essential for the construction of civic and democratic values. In its everyday activities, which proceed without the support of major international financing, the Foundation for Culture and Civil Society exploits art as a potent instrument of social change, pitting time and dedication against the presumption of rapid solutions promised in vain by military politics and invasion. Kabul’s artistic microcosm lives and thrives beneath the surface of a proclaimed cultural rebirth, of the declarations of a past discovered and rediscovered to build the future, and of the large-scale international financings that dictate the processes of artistic practices. When observed, it exposes a multiplicity of forms and movements, whose autonomous and lively thinking reckons with the hardness of the geopolitical situation, struggling to preserve the dignity and independence of its own forms of expression.”
Excerpt from Francesca Recchia and Lorenzo Tugnoli, Creative Kabul, domus 953 December 2011.