Uncovering Art From Afghanistan - Afghanistan Research Project

Work by Malina Suliman
Uncovering Art from Afghanistan, Van Abbemuseum, 2013. Photo Peter Cox
Ahmad Wali-Q, Andisha, z.j.
Ghaus Naram, Atan, 2005. Collectie Van Abbemuseum
Abdul Hudood Shpoon, Ozbak, 2006

Uncovering Art From Afghanistan Afghanistan Research Project

29/03/2013 - 02/07/2013

A small exhibition on art in Afghanistan in the lower ground floor of the Van Abbemuseum. It includes a selection of paintings, drawings, prints and photographs from leading and emerging practitioners in Afghanistan that were donated to the Van Abbemuseum in 2012. On view are works by Hamdullah Arbab, Dr. Yosef Asefi, Hamid Barakzai, Aziz Hazara, Najibullah Mosaver, Ghaus Naram, Abul Qasem Foshanji, Ahmad Wali Akbar, Abdul Hudood Shpoon, Malina Suliman and M. Tamim Sahebzada.

Afghan Research Project

The Van Abbemuseum initiated the Afghan Research Project in 2009 as a means to engage with the culture of Afghanistan, and to convey the artistic life of a country ravaged by successive wars and occupations. The project is led by Van Abbemuseum employee Shafiq Omar, of Afghan origin, and director Charles Esche. The ongoing initiative has brought in different actors working in all of the different Afghan regions to ask how and why a European museum might engage meaningfully with a country that has become synonymous with conflict.
In March 2011 a symposium was held at the Van Abbemuseum, involving a number of artists, curators and professionals including Ammanullah Mujadidi, Robert Kluijver, Jemima Montagu and Jeanno Gaussi, to discuss how the project could develop. Interviews with these participants are now included as part of the display in the museum, as well as footage of the symposium itself.


As part of the Afghanistan Research Project in March 2013 the Van Abbemuseum is launching VAIA Academy – the Van Abbe International Art Academy. Twice a month art practitioners from and connected to the Van
Abbemuseum will give a lecture about contemporary art practice, art history and the development of contemporary art. Young artists in Afghanistan are invited to join this online course in one of the five Afghan cities. After every lecture there will be an opportunity for the students to discuss the subject in relation to their work. The Dutch embassy in Kabul is supporting this project and will host the lectures in the Dutch embassy. Charles Esche, director of the Van Abbemuseum gave the opening lecture on 18 March. Other lectures will be given by a.o. Galit Eilat (Curator), Frank Malcorps (artist), Ron Eijkman (audio/video professional) and Stijn Peeters (artist).