Orzala A. Nemat


Liz Strick’s Afghanistan Series

I highly recommend Liz’s work and I think by bringing a painting home you will not only bring a painting but a story together with it, and that story is about hope, aspiration and the beauty of a place which is all too often these days is synonymous with war and violence.

Thank you LIZ for your year’s journey to Afghanistan and I hope one day I can give you a tour of the places you so beautifully imagined and painted.

Coming from a country and in that country from a generation that has not seen much outside war, violence, destruction and discrimination, arts of different kinds are the most inspiring and relaxing means for me to keep my spirit alive. In search of hope, enthusiasm and refreshment from time to time as I experience, witness, hear or read about violence, I often relieve my frustration by listening to music, reading poetry or literature and whenever I am lucky enough to get a chance, I go and visit art galleries and enjoy looking at the creation of other humans who, in the same world, choose to paint. It is often done so beautifully that by looking, no matter how old and faraway they may be, one immediately feels a close link to a particular painting.

Liz Strick, my good friend and a great artist, chose to join us in a full year’s journey to Afghanistan, not a place she has ever been to, but a place where her youngest son, Alex, is living and where a woman she started to know lately came from. Believe it or not, as I show pictures of Liz’s paintings to friends, they cannot imagine that she did not travel yet still makes an impressive artistic work through her paintings to paint so accurately and beautifully.

The year 2010 for Afghanistan has been the most violent year on record since 2001, yet what is often missing is other side of the reality, away from violence, anger and war-related news. I know many friends who started the year promising to send out only ‘good news.’ We all failed to do so, as the whole year has become full of too much ‘bad news’…  so we all often fall into only looking at the violent side. Liz’s artwork is so important as she painted during the same year, but with a different face: one of hope and aspiration despite all the challenges Afghan people must deal with. Her paintings present the natural beauty and magnetic power of Afghanistan’s nature and its people that brings a lot of friends (and foes!) to this country.

I am grateful for Liz’s tremendous work for two reasons. Personally, because she honoured me by choosing some of my photos to work from, each of which has a story and a memory. And secondly, because she decided to donate part of the funds from the series’ paintings for my initiative of building a school for 400 girls and boys in Utran village in Afghanistan.

Orzala A. Nemat | Afghan civil rights activist & initiator of the Utran Kili School-building Project March 2011