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What Happens When American Artists Meet Afghan Rug Weavers

A new collaborative exhibit raises questions about how we navigate the complex relationship between arts and crafts.

Carpet production center outside of Kabul

Last weekend, the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles debuted a new exhibition called The Afghan Carpet Project, a special show that represents the collaborative efforts of Afghan carpet weavers and six L.A. artists—Lisa Anne Auerbach, Liz Craft, Meg Cranston, Francesca Gabbiani, Jennifer Guidi, and Toba Khedoori. Last year, these artists took a trip to Kabul and Bamiyan, organized by the non-profit organization AfghanMade, where they observed the “craft and production process” of the carpet weavers, and then drew up designs for their own carpets. The Hammer Museum show includes the six carpets that resulted from this trip, designed by the L.A. artists and weaved by the Afghan artisans, as well as photographs of the trip, taken by Auerbach.

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Tough Afghan Girls Fight Harsh Gender Oppression With Their Bikes

Girls aren’t supposed to ride alone in Afghanistan, so a group of them formed a tough (biking) gang.

“So, can you tell me what you’re doing here?”“This bike riding club is to encourage girls to ride here in Kabul. There...

Posted by Humans of Kabul on Saturday, July 19, 2014\n

While experts may disagree, revolutions tend to be fought with weapons, not bikes. But inside Kabul, Afghanistan, an outrageously brave group of Afghan teenage girls are fighting to argue otherwise. Not too long ago, Fatima Haidari and a group of Afghan girls became frustrated that, as women, they weren’t supposed to be out on the streets alone. So they did what most people in this situation would not do: they hopped out of their houses, onto their bikes, and into the streets.

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Artists Rebuild Destroyed Buddha Statues With Ghostly 3D Projection

Following their destruction by the Taliban in 2001, Afghanistan’s famed Buddhas of Bamiyan are reborn in luminous light.

image via youtube screen capture

For centuries, the towering Buddha statues looking out over Afghanistan’s Bamiyan Valley were renowned the world over for their size and beauty. Built in the 6th century, the two main figures were the largest statues of a standing Buddha on Earth, looming at 53 and 35 meters, respectively. Carved into a sheer cliff face, the Bamiyan Buddhas were an awe inspiring combination of devotional art and ingenious craftsmanship. And in 2001, they were completely destroyed.

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A Trip to Cambodia Shows How Skateboarding Bridges Cultural Barriers

Professional skater Javier Mendizabal and the Quiksilver by Vuerich B project team traveled to Phnom Penh to meet the Skateistan team.

In early December, professional skater Javier Mendizabal and the Quiksilver by Vuerich B project team traveled to Phnom Penh to meet the Skateistan team and their students. This trip marked the beginning of an exciting new collaboration to release a range of sunglasses made out of recycled skateboard decks to help support Skateistan, a nonprofit that uses skateboarding as a tool for engaging and empowering youth.

As an ambassador of the Quiksilver Foundation, Javier participated in all of Skateistan Cambodia’s day-to-day activities with the students: hosting workshops on the mechanics of a skateboard, providing trick tips to the staff and students, and giving skate demos. Through their shared passion for skateboarding, Javier was able to inspire and motivate the students of Skateistan to push their own skating to new levels.

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