In 2018 I was invited, along with several women artists, to create three works for a creative collaboration with women in Afghanistan. This is the second such project in which I have been involved – and both have been the most rewarding and uplifting projects.
My friend and the initiator of these projects, Gali Weiss, responded to the plight of Afghan women after seeing an image in the news. Ten years ago she gathered a group of artists together for the first project where we each created three concertina books. These went to Kabul to women who were in a literacy program. The women were invited to respond to the books and the art in them, in their own way, then write in the books. Returned to Australia the books were purchased by the Queensland State Library after being exhibited, and formed the basis of conference presentations, and were available for wider audiences through the book TWO TREES, released a few years ago and a feature in INPRINT.
Now MAKING MARKS has been released. This book is the culmination of our most recent collaboration. We were asked to create works onto handkerchiefs. Over seventy went to Afghanistan and into the hands of women learning embroidery. Again, there were no expectations from us as to what marks they chose to make onto the handkerchiefs. Most came back to Australia, and all of us were touched, delighted and moved by what responses they had made, and the comments they embroidered onto the handkerchiefs. On one of mine, Fauzia wrote that she wished the Americans would leave her country – a wish from a financially poor person.
The works have been shown in Venice, Paris and beyond as part of a travelling exhibition called BEYOND THE VEIL. An exhibition was planned for earlier in 2020 at the Counihan Gallery Brunswick, however, this has been postponed by the virus. I think it will happen next year. The book MAKING MARKS was the initiative of Gali, who along with Barbara Kameniar edited it; so many others have been involved along the way … it is truly a tribute to collaboration. I love it! It will be available for purchase in about one month. Please consider purchasing one, they will be around $40 plus postage. Let me know via the form below and I will contact you when they are available for sale.