This morning I had the pleasure of attending a screening at Parsons New School. It was a collaboration between the professor Nora Krug and the founder of Artfully Unforgotten, Heather Metcalfe. The presentation consisted of the 15 minute short Heather and I have been working on as well as a post panel discussion with Heather, Nora and Adrienne Dicker Kadzinski a former Operations Officer with the U.S. Army reserves. The audience members were made up of 3 New School illustration classes who will use the video (and images from the Associated Press were brought in by instructor Peter Hamlin) as well as panel discussion to inspire works of art that will then be auctioned off at a Best Buy sponsored event coming in November. Proceeds for the Best Buy event will go to organizations in Afghanistan that benefit women and children.
Artfully Unforgotten is also putting together a multimedia event that will feature the Voices of Afghanistan video and book (for book details see Artfully Unforgotten's website), art, guest speakers and more. Details to appear on this blog in the very near future!
Today's panel covered topics from poppyseed farmers, to arms dealing, to burqas and being an American in Afghanistan. Nora then spoke to the students about how they might use a personal story and an American point of view to create a work of art inspired by this mornings presentation. No small challenge and one student admitted he didn't feel well informed enough yet.
As many people know, Afghanistan has a complicated story, even if the story is just focused on Afghan women and children. I hope the video shows that Afghan women have been through much we can't begin to understand, but also they are women like any other. They are mothers, business people, students, teachers, doctors and much more. One of my main goals for this project, as well as the director Heather's, is for the video and related materials and events help bridge the distance between "us" and "them". That is, to create a human connection that allows us to care enough to form many collaborations for the mutual betterment of all nations involved.
For more information on this amazing project, please visit Artfully Unforgotten.