Work begins this week on ArtLords tape art mural project

Afghan artists lead effort to re-create art destroyed by Taliban

BRATTLEBORO — ArtLords is a global Afghan-led movement to use art for peacebuilding and social transformation. Since last summer's takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban, ArtLords' 50 artists have fled the country and have been in hiding, scattered around the world.

Five ArtLords who have found refuge in Vermont - Marwa, Negina, Meetra, Zuhra, and Abdul - will work with tape artists Leah Smith and Michael Townshend to create a series of 20 temporary murals around Brattleboro, starting this week, to honor ArtLords murals that were destroyed by the Taliban in Afghanistan.

The artists are using tape to make mural stickers in the galleries at the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center (BMAC) this week, with the public invited to view their progress at the museum Wednesday through Friday, August 10–12. The artists will install 20 tape murals around Brattleboro as they're completed.

The completed exhibit will be on view from Saturday, August 13, through Sunday, August 28.

ArtLords was established in 2014 as a global grassroots movement of artivists motivated by the desire to pave the way for social change through employing the soft power of art and culture as a nonintrusive approach. ArtLords realized the opportunity for converting the negative psychological impact of blast walls on the people of Kabul into a positive visual experience through murals. ArtLords' work has been celebrated by artists and leaders around the world and has been displayed at the United Nations.

According to Negina, whitewashing the murals was one of the first things the Taliban did upon taking power, and the first mural they destroyed was the first she helped to create, celebrating the women's orchestra in Kabul. The murals created for “Honoring Honar” will incorporate pieces of the original murals into new work. The word honar means “art” in Dari.

A map of all the murals will be available at BMAC and other venues around town, with QR codes linked to images of the original murals in Afghanistan before they were destroyed.

Murals will be installed at additional downtown sites, including the Latchis Hotel, River Garden Marketplace, Harmony Parking Lot Tunnel, Hooker-Dunham Theater and Gallery, Epsilon Spires, Hermit Thrush Brewery, and Mitchell-Giddings Fine Arts.

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