Embassy hosts reception honoring Rahraw Omarzad of the Center for Contemporary Arts Afghanistan

Embassy of Afghanistan

Mrs. Sultana Hakimi stands with honoree Professor Omarzad (second from left), contemporary Afghan poet, artist and novelist Ustad Hamid Naweed (far left), and the Embassy's Cultural Attaché Ahmad Farid Haidari.

Embassy of Afghanistan

Professor Omarzad gives his presentation in Dari while it is then shared in English by Ms. Laila Zafar, the translator to his right.

Embassy of Afghanistan

Professor Omarzad stands with contemporary Afghan poet, artist and novelist Ustad Hamid Naweed.

Embassy of Afghanistan

Reception guests stand with Mrs. Hakimi and Mr. Omarzad (sixth and seventh from left, respectively).

Photo: Omarzad 3
Photo: Omarzad 1
Photo: Omarzad 4
Photo: Omarzad 2

WASHINGTON – The Embassy of Afghanistan was pleased to host a cultural evening honoring the Center for Contemporary Arts Afghanistan (CCAA) on Tuesday, November 20, 2012.

Mrs. Sultana Hakimi delivered the opening remarks saying, "I believe that women are a critical component of Afghanistan’s future, especially those who have fought against incredible obstacles in order to achieve success. Because of this, I would like to commend Professor Omarzad for giving women today an opportunity to participate in one of Afghanistan’s oldest and richest cultural traditions: art. The Center for Contemporary Arts Afghanistan has served as a viable outlet for Afghan women to be self-sufficient, sustainable, and empowered. This is important for not just today’s women that are writing the next chapter in contemporary Afghan art, but also for the generations to come."

Professor Rahraw Omarzad, Director and Founder of the Center for Contemporary Arts Afghanistan, then gave a presentation on the role of women in contemporary Afghan art. Contemporary Afghan poet, artist and novelist Ustad Hamid Naweed also gave a brief history of painting in Afghanistan. Guests enjoyed a presentation by Susan Main on a trans-local art making project jointly conducted by the Center for Contemporary Arts Afghanistan and the Maryland Institute College of Art.

Kabul-born and raised, Abdul Wasi Rahraw Omarzad is an artist, writer, creator and journalist. He has served as a professor in the College of Fine Arts at Kabul University since 2002, and he published the art periodical “Ghaname Hunar” from 2002 – 2007. He established the Center for Contemporary Arts Afghanistan in 2004 and the women’s arts center in 2006. He continues to organize workshops and courses that introduce contemporary arts to Afghan citizens.

The establishment of the Center for Contemporary Arts Afghanistan was born from the art periodical “Gahname Hunar,” begun by Mr. Omarzad in reaction to the Taliban’s opposition to the arts in 2000. Despite misgivings related to safety coming from Afghan and Pakistani artists, Mr. Omarzad pushed ahead in creating the magazine, and then the Center, thereby exposing a generation of Afghan youth to the arts who may have otherwise missed out on this vital form of expression and ages-old cultural tradition.

Currently, the Center for Contemporary Arts Afghanistan is an independent artistic and cultural center with a formal advisory committee of national and international artists and educational and institutional experts. Its seeks to provide equal opportunities for men, women and youth to improve their artistic and creative talent; to promote a new way of looking at art in Afghan society as a vehicle for communicating peace, justice, democracy and civil society; and to support sustainability of these practices and institutionalize these beliefs in the context of Islamic and national values.

To learn more about the Center for Contemporary Arts Afghanistan, click here.