L’Eclectique is enthusiastic and also proud to feature the Afghan artist Fatimah Hossaini. Her artistic work is amazingly luminous and inspiring. Her perspective is full of love and hope about her country where war is unfortunately the devastating and painful current news story. But Fatimah shares a powerful message: you can also find “Beauty amid War”. Discover her enlightening interview and her wonderful series “Pearl in the oyster” showing the diverse culture and beauty of Afghan women and Afghan culture.
However, amid all these miseries, there is another side of Afghanistan, which merely few people see – the bright side of Afghanistan – the beauty amid war.
Bonjour Fatimah, can you introduce yourself in your own words.
This is Fatimah Hossaini, Afghan artist, photographer, curator, exhibitioner, Founder of Mastooraat Organization. I was born in Tehran and I studied mathematics in high school, and first bachelor in industrial engineering and one in Photography from University of Tehran. I decided to return to Afghanistan after my graduation in 2018 and I established my organization with my colleague Sharif Safi to work for women, art, youth and peace, and I taught Photography at Kabul University. Now I am between Tehran and Kabul.
Art for me is everything, It can be a way to convey beauty, in a country where war destroyed everything there and to show forgotten beauties that can show the bright side of a historical land.
What is the turn of events in your life that lead you to creativity and art?
I used to paint as a fourteen year old and I just loved colors and to talk with my art and whatever I do as an artwork. This could perhaps be the reason why I started photography and interested to be an artist. There are also so many things which lead me to create the concept of my works and to produce and inspire me to continue working as an artist and photographer — my family, my culture, my challenges as an Afghan artist and photographer. All of these inspire me to become a better version of myself in art and photography. There are also many things that I want to show to the world through my photographic journey, to show another face of my motherland and to show all the beauties, which exist in the middle of war and in spite of the war.
Art is healing at all – not only for me – because it forces you to forge a connection between your mind and your body.
Is art healing for you? And is art for you a way to convey beauty and healing too to people?
Literally it is. Art is healing at all – not only for me – because it forces you to forge a connection between your mind and your body. Unlike exercise, which works your body, or meditation, which clears your mind, art-making accesses both mind and body to promote healing.
Art is a way to convey whatever you have in your mind and you can’t bring them into words, but you can bring it into your artworks. Art for me is everything, It can be a way to convey beauty, in a country where war destroyed everything there and to show forgotten beauties that can show the bright side of a historical land.
Your country Afghanistan is unfortunately often making the headlines for its devastating stories of war, loss and pain. In this chaotic situation, can you perceive any extraordinary power of resilience and faith in the Afghan people and the young generation? What is the other story that you want to share?
Of course, I can see the hope and resilience among young generation of Afghanistan and it really gives me more hope and motivates me.
I can see how the students and the young people are trying to come out from this situation and to bring positive changes in country. The way they talk, they study and dealing with the challenging situation in Afghanistan and struggling with the chaos gives me so much hope for a brighter Afghanistan. It also inspires me when I see and I can feel it that how women are struggling and they strive for equality. The new generation of Afghanistan so resilient – striving to make Afghanistan a better place.
The beauty of Afghan women hasn’t been showcased to the world in a major way.
“Beauty amid War” is the title of your upcoming book with your amazing photos. The title is a beautiful and a powerful message to the Afghan people and the world. On the photos we mainly see Afghan women in a different light, what is your core intention for Afghan women and maybe beyond through this book?
Afghan women have always been given less opportunities and have been known for their weaknesses rather than their strength had being noticed. The dark side of their life had been shown such as the regulation of wearing Burqa or seen as mere property. The beauty of Afghan women hasn’t been showcased to the world in a major way. It has gotten even more extreme in the recent history of Afghanistan – after the start of civil wars. It’s mostly talked and shown the dark side of Afghanistan and Afghan women. Mostly, their abilities are overlooked and their voices go unheard, which make people see only the one side of Afghan women – the dark side. The challenges that Afghan women have gone through over the history have been very different and arguably harder than anywhere else in the world. However, amid all these miseries, there is another side of Afghanistan, which merely few people see – the bright side of Afghanistan – the beauty amid war.
Women have always been at the center of my works – in this photo book I capture and redefine the Afghan women by showing their beauty of femininity and hopes. I have tried to show that peace comes from embracing diversity and respecting the differences. I have therefore showcased women from different tribes of Afghanistan with their certain clothing styles and physiognomy. I have tried to highlight that the world is more beautiful when differences are appreciated, imposed limitations are broken and women are not seen as weak. Here Beauty and peace are put together and peace is always beautiful. The photos also have been captured in the middle of forgotten and historical locations in Afghanistan.
Can you share with us a luminous quote for you, a life changing book and an enlightening moment of your life?
“Never stop dreaming, never stop believing, never give up, never stop trying, and never stop learning, Never ever stop believing in yourself. You are born to make it BIG!” from Roy Bennett. Actually it was always written on first page of my notebook, especially when I decided to stop studying engineering for other steps of my educational journey and I started from zero again. It was a tough time which everybody and my family was against my decision.
“ Essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love, and something to hope for and “Our ikigai is different for all of us, but one thing we have in common is that we are all searching for meaning.” It’s also a quote of IKIGAI book (the Japanese secret to a long and happy life) and it always inspire me to keep being productive and have a purpose in life to continue for, to stay happy and and live the life you want.
Thank you Fatimah for sharing with us your perspective on Afghanistan, some lines of your story and for being a magnanimous and inspiring creative woman.
You can follow Fatimah on instagram