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Afghanistan’s art gift to UN on display in New York

By: The Kabul Times

KABUL: Afghanistan’s Permanent Representative to UN, Adela Raz has presented an official gift from her country to UN Secretary-General António Guterres.
The artwork is a painting — The Unseen Afghanistan — the first gift presented by Kabul to the UN since 1963. It is the only one on display, says a statement from Afghanistan’s Permanent Mission to the UN.
The Afghan government chose to ask ArtLords to create the artwork because these young men and women represent the country’s new spirit.
It depicts the new Afghanistan and the shared journey of the Afghan people and government with our international partners, particularly the UN.
According to the statement, the painting celebrates Afghanistan’s recent gains and projects a positive side of the unseen Afghanistan, often hidden from public view.
Commemorating the country’s empathy, love, and rich cultural heritage, it reflects Afghanistan’s commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals.
One of the central themes of the artwork is the value of and right to education for all. The importance of partnerships and peace is another major theme.
At the unveiling ceremony, Ambassador Adela Raz said: “It has been a long-term goal of the Afghan government to donate a symbolic and original artwork to the UN — an organisation that has been instrumental in building the New Afghanistan.”
“The painting we have decided to gift to the United Nations is a celebration of the resilience and beauty of Afghanistan. It shows our country and its people in all their glory and aspirations — a side of Afghanistan often forgotten or unseen.”
The diplomat said the gift told the story of Afghan girls and their relentless thirst for education and persistence in the face of adversity to gain knowledge and dream big.
She concluded: “Together we will make the depiction of Afghanistan shown in this painting a reality for all Afghans. Together we will make the unseen, seen.”
The secretary-general commended the beauty of the painting and its reflection of the courage, diversity and commitment of the Afghan people.
He said: “This painting, of course, is very important for the UN. It represents a partnership of 75 years, a very solid partnership that Ambassador Raz has been boosting in an extraordinary way.”
On the role of the UN, he said: “I want to reassure you of our strong commitment to support Afghanistan, our strong commitment to the people of Afghanistan.
“And to make sure that these trying times will lead to a new era — peace, prosperity and human rights for the people of Afghanistan that are so dear to my heart.”
One of the founders of ArtLords, Omaid Sharifi, discussed how the painting was made and explained its symbolism.
“To make the painting, our team travelled all over Afghanistan to draw inspiration from across our diverse regions and to collect soil from all 34 provinces. That soil from all over the country makes up the background of this canvas.” Reflecting on the imagery of the artwork, he told the story of a child who lost one of his legs but learned to run and of the Buddha’s of Bamyan, which today represent our rich history and our losses.”
The painting — two by four metres has in the foreground calligraphy of a poem by the famous Afghan poet Rumi. The poem reads: “Let’s not sew anything, but love and friendship in this pure land.”

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