The privately owned Munch Gallery located in Lower Manhatten, New York, represents a number of North American and international contemporary artists. Alongside exhibitions by the represented artists, Munch Gallery hosts temporary exhibitions of varying themes.

 

Munch Gallery - AFGHAN TALES Press Release

Commerce & Culture and Munch Gallery is pleased to present the US Launch of AFGHAN TALES  – a group exhibition by 30 Afghan photographers ranging from internationally featured photojournalists to artists working in photography.

Ever since the invasion in 2001 images of US soldiers, tanks, and people grieving their dead have dominated Western media’s portrayal of Afghanistan. But what does the country look like seen through the eyes of Afghan photographers?

AFGHAN TALES invites us to see a different Afghanistan – a country of surprising complexity, contrast, and change.

Traditional, yet modern. Destroyed, yet whole. Grieving, yet optimistic. These contrasts create the background for millions of lives lived in the landscapes and cityscapes of Afghanistan. The photos in the exhibition document a country that is rapidly changing, but is still fundamentally influenced by tradition and religion.

In just 10 years Afghans have started rebuilding their shattered lives. Life is slowly returning to Kabul, a city of more than 4.5 million people. Lively markets and traffic jams fill the avenues under the mountains. Brick factory fires are burning around the clock to meet demands for new houses. Children are returning to school and in 2004 women were allowed to vote for the very first time in the country’s first democratic election. Afghans are again savoring the joys of all that was banned by the Taliban: taking pictures, eating out, and weddings with dancing and singing.

The immense contrasts in Afghan everyday life are captured by the AFGHAN TALES photographers. Women are covered in burqas, but they are also wearing heels. A balloon salesman carrying shiny, colored balloons passes by an old, abandoned palace. As the debate about stoning is raging, the pop-culture phenomenon of 'Afghan Star', a popular television show that searches for talented, young singers, is experiencing tremendous success. The longing for fame and fortune is also present in Afghanistan. 

As such there are definite signs of progress, but in a country as complex as Afghanistan not all is what it seems. There is a remarkable disparity between the apparent improvements and the struggles still going on behind the scenes. 

The AFGHAN TALES project is a selection of the best of Afghan contemporary photography. It’s an independent project initiated by Commerce & Culture who has been working with promotion and talent development of Afghan photographers since 2010 though the establishment of Afghan Photography Network, A.P.N.

The exhibition will travel Europe and the United States over a 36-month period starting in March 2014. 
In the US, AFGHAN TALES is represented by Munch Gallery.