Street art artist, Milad Mohammadi has covered many gray walls in Kabul with messages of peace and commemoration. After the return of the Taliban last Augusthe quickly understood that he had to put away his brushes: there was no longer any place for the arts in the rigorous conception of Islam advocated by the new regime – and his pockets were empty.
“My frescoes go against the rules of the Taliban”, explains the artist in sign language. Indeed, he is deaf, so his words are interpreted by a translator.
“Currently, I don’t have a lot of work. I only do pencil portraits for individuals.”
Just eight months ago, the interior ministry of the former government – backed by the United States – commissioned frescoes from him, as did foreign embassies and international institutions. He painted doves of peace or balls transformed into pencils and paintbrushes, symbolizing the desire and the hope of a country ravaged by decades of war.
Today, his works have been covered in white paint. On the grounds of the American Embassy, Milad’s message of peace was replaced by a slogan celebrating Taliban victory obtained “with the help of Allah”.
Father of two children, whom he is now struggling to feed, Milad manages thanks to the support of his brother who has been sending him money since Turkey. He is not the only artist in a difficult situation. The hasty departure of Western soldiers and representatives last year had repercussions for all artists in Afghanistan.
Deep sense of betrayal
The Taliban government has not decreed a general ban on the arts in public spaces, but certain acts of
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