Artistic encounters
in war and violent conflict

Hangama Amiri: Threshold - Installation at Sharjah Biennial

INSPIRE artist Hangama Amiri recently participated with an installation titled Threshold at the 2023 Sharjah Biennial through which she aimed to highlight the historical educational inequality Afghan women have faced and continue to face today under Taliban control.

Threshold, Hangama Amiri, Sharjah Biennial 15th
Threshold, Hangama Amiri, Sharjah Biennial 15th

She writes:

"When the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan in 1996, I was six years old. I remember vividly the drastic changes in life when the Taliban announced the educational ban for girls and barred women from being in the public without a male guardian. My family sought refuge in Pakistan and Tajikistan soon after. As a result, my early years were spent between schools in different countries, many of them were Islamic gender-segregated schools.

As the Taliban returned to Afghanistan in 2021, girls from grades 6-12 were again deprived of education. Female educators were removed from their positions. Moreover, "The Women's Affairs Ministry" replaced "Ministry for Preaching and Guidance and the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice." The exclusion of women's participation in society under the Taliban's rule strikes as an urgent threat to women's rights in Afghanistan nowadays and furthermore portrays a disconcerting future for young Afghan girls.

For the 2023 Sharjah Biennial, I have hoped to bring light to the inequality women face in the education system in Afghanistan. I have weaved together my personal memory from elementary schools with my studies on the material specificity in Afghan classroom settings. The large-scale textile installation titled Threshold consists of a mural-sized textile piece and 18 sets of school tables with benches that are often seen in the schools of Afghanistan."

Threshold, Hanagama Amiri, Installation, Sharjah Biennial 15th
Threshold, Hanagama Amiri, Installation, Sharjah Biennial 15th

"While thinking historically into the present, I am interested in changing the narrative around girls’ education in Afghanistan. The installation creates a reorientation of the classroom through the arrangement of space. The school table and benches face the textile piece while the mural- sized textile hangs between the classrooms. Through heterotopic, interactive immersive experiences my installation, Threshold creates a space that is dedicated as a testimony to invisible women’s labor and education while exploring women’s experiences in gender culture in post-Talibanized society."

Read more about Hanagama on her Artist Profile and on her Artist Spotlight.