Arts
8:39 pm
Fri January 20, 2012

Afghan War Exhibit Comes to Pittsburgh

"Windows and Mirrors: Reflections on the War in Afghanistan" is making its next stop in downtown Pittsburgh this Friday. 45 murals from across the U.S., along with drawings collected from Afghan high school students, highlight suffering from war.

Scilla Wahrhaftig, program director for the American Friends Service Committee in Pennsylvania, said the idea for the exhibit came after the committee began its "Eyes Wide Open" project in 2004, in which empty boots represented each soldier killed in Iraq.

"It was very clear that we needed to do something which raised the awareness of the human cost of the Afghan War," said Wahrhaftig. "And art is just a wonderful way to show people what is happening, and get them really to … reflect on what they're seeing."

Wahrhaftig said the committee asked the Chicago Public Art Group and the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program for contributions to a traveling memorial to Afghan civilians in 2009.

"And the American Friends Service Committee pulled these together a couple of years ago and have been touring them around the United States," said Wahrhaftig. "They're very stunning. They're full of color and some of the images are very graphic, but some of them are also the hope for the Afghan people for the future."

She said the exhibit will be accompanied by "War Dialogues," where refugees and military veterans collaborate through storytelling. The first production will feature Joyce Wagner, a U.S. Iraq veteran, and Mina Al Doori, a high school Iraqi refugee.

Wahrhaftig said the gallery will also host poetry readings, improvisational performances, and presentations of Iraqi and military veterans' poetry. The exhibit will open January 27th in conjunction with the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust's Gallery Crawl.