A mural for Afghanistan, titled August 15, will be on display at Franklin College in the Elba L. & Gene Portteus Branigin Atrium of the Johnson Center for Fine Arts from Monday, April 3 to Friday, April 14. An Interdisciplinary Panel Discussion to examine the history behind the mural will take place on Monday, April 3 from 7-8 p.m. in the Henderson Conference Room of the Johnson Center for Fine Arts. An opening reception will follow.
The exhibit, sponsored by the Franklin College Religious Life Department, the Religious Studies Department and the Art Department, is free and open to the public to view during the following hours: April 3-7 and April 10-14 from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. The exhibit will remain open until 9 p.m. on April 3 and 8 p.m. on April 5 and 12 to allow the public to view the mural during evening hours.
The title of the mural, August 15, reflects on the date when the government of Afghanistan fell to the Taliban. The mural tells the story of how many lives were forever changed on that day.
Two Afghan evacuees who found safe refuge at Indiana’s Camp Atterbury in Edinburgh, were artists Zainab Ahmadi and Faqzia Abdaly. Both women were advocates for women empowerment in Afghanistan. While at Camp Atterbury, they, along with other evacuees, found a safe place to freely reflect upon their experiences through an art therapy group, Art of the Soul.
In September 2021, they teamed up with muralist Tiffany Black to create August 15, representing their message to the world. It serves as a record of their collective experiences and hopes for the future and a memorial for the brave people who sacrificed their lives to bring peace to their country. Nearly 60 other evacuees participated in the creation of the mural. The hope is the exhibition of this mural will rally support for those left behind, suffering under the constant threat of the Taliban.
“When the Afghan evacuees arrived in Indiana, the Franklin College community eagerly gathered donations resulting in several trips to Camp Atterbury to demonstrate support to new neighbors,” said Rev. Hannah Adams Ingram, Ph.D., director of religious life and chaplain. “It is an honor to bring to campus this mural exhibit that tells the stories of those evacuees.”
After initially debuting to the public at the Camp Atterbury Welcome Center, the mural was then displayed from April to May 2022 at the Indianapolis International Airport. The Indianapolis Airport Authority funded the conversion of the stationary mural display to a high-quality, traveling exhibit that can easily be transported and shared with millions of Americans. The mural has embarked on a traveling exhibition throughout North America and is raising funds for children left behind in Afghanistan.
Alongside this mural are paintings by Qahar Behzad and his 16-year-old sister, Sahar. Qahar is an Afghan artist who also evacuated in August 2021. Now based in Indianapolis, he continues to create paintings that celebrate his culture, illuminate experiences of displaced people, and advocate for women and girls in oppressive societies. His sister Sahar is still in Afghanistan, confined to her home and barred from attending school. Sahar spends her time studying and painting.
Black is an artist currently based in Indianapolis. Since 2003, Black has created over 35 large-scale community-based murals across seven states. Black earned her Master of Fine Arts in Community Arts from Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA). Through the grants she was awarded for her work at MICA, she founded Video Lab, a weekly program that allows access to the art school’s computer lab for East Baltimore residents. Since 2013, Video Lab has offered free workshops in video production, documentary-making, and digital skills.
For more information, contact the Franklin College Office of Communications at (317) 738-8185, or visit www.tblack.co/august15.
POSTED Mar 16, 2023