Produced by the Han Nefkens Foundation in collaboration with the Fundació Antoni Tàpies, this exhibition brings together the works by interdisciplinary artist Aziz Hazara.
This is where cultures intermingled and touched the world around them. A place between mysticism and militancy, where traces of ancient history, rituals and statuses are preserved. A land that has been at the epicentre of conflict for more than a century, where the bloodshed and violence to which men are both witness and party seem almost endemic. The outcome of the struggles of Afghanistan, the proxy battleground, is impossible to predict, and only the brave or foolish can foretell its future. Can these boys and the country to which they belong escape the collective pain of loss and the historical deformation of human destinies to survive? Is violence still terrifying when it takes place every day? How can the echo of events, both distant and recent, be political and poetic – and how does it trigger personal memory?
Aziz Hazara tells his story, strikingly reflected here through the exclusively male lens of these young boys on the path to adulthood (and participation in the same formative processes of violence and trauma), with impressive modesty. He transforms and transcends both personal and collective memory to claim the national as more than the instantly and easily identifiable objects and images that the West is used to seeing. His works find a balance between visual immediacy and social commentary, becoming at the same time immediate and monumental. The artist uses an arrestingly serene way of storytelling to explore the suffering and struggle in his native Afghanistan. The actions that he stages for the camera, with the help of children’s games and play, speak camera, with the help of children’s games and play, speak for themselves as they explore the relationship between young people and the sites of trauma that have become their playground. To understand Hazara’s work, look for meaning in the collective silence and the blanks that remain in the official versions of this shared narrative. Look past what you see on the screens before you; search for what is missing in the narrative that you think you know.