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In March 2004, we presented Gahnama-e-Hunar, currently Afghanistan’s only art magazine, and its editor, A.W. Rahraw Omarzad. This publication is one of many activities that Omarzad hopes to instigate a cultural and artistic revival in his homeland with. Then came another such endeavor: in October 2004, Omarzad announced the founding of a center for contemporary art in Kabul, which he himself would initiate and direct.
In his letter, Omarzad, who studied art himself and worked as a professor, complained of the poor level of art education in Afghanistan. He feels that the antiquated perception of art and teaching methods in today’s institutions have to be changed; they fail to foster the students’ individuality, and instead only discourage it. This makes promoting art education and the further education of the teaching staff a pressing goal for the CCAA. It should offer services for renewing artistic processes and professional fields, as well as the qualification of technical skills, for which, among other facilities, a multimedia center on the grounds of the CCAA should be responsible.
In his concept, Omarzad formulated all his goals for the CCAA as wishes, apparently aware of how far from being fulfilled they were, in view of the concrete conditions in Afghanistan. In any case, the center made a few appearances in 2004, for example as the organizer or co-organizer of lectures and workshops, and some of these are captured in the photographs published together with this article. The photographs were made available to us by A.W. Rahraw Omarzad, Roya Ghiasy and Sislej Xhafa, and we thank them for their cooperation.
Gerhard Haupt and Pat Binder
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Center for Contemporary Art Afghanistan
A.W. Rahraw Omarzad,