Voices on the Rise: Antwerp vernissage
The exhibition, consisting of 50 photographs, portrays the lives of professional Afghan women, unsung heroes working in the fields of politics, government, media, civil society, the arts, sport, etc. who are helping to rebuild their country following years of war.
Roberta Bonazzi, Executive Director of EFD welcomed the three guest speakers to the vernissage of the Voices on the Rise exhibition which was officially inaugurated by Patrick Janssens, the Mayor of Antwerp. Mayor Janssens spoke about the importance of the exhibition in highlighting the passion and courage of Afghan women. He recalled the impressive achievements that have already been made to date in ensuring a better quality of life for young Afghan girls and women in the country. (Scroll down to 'Stemmen uit Afghanistan' http://www.burgemeestervanantwerpen.be/nieuws/page/2)
Afghan Ambassador to the EU, NATO and Belgium, HE Homayoun Tandar was represented at the vernissage by Abeda Osman who provided her perspective on how Afghanistan had benefitted from the support of the international community over the past decade. She said that significant progress had been made in reconstructing Afghanistan in recent years though much remained to be done. She added that it was critical for the international military presence in Afghanistan to remain in place another few years as the work on reconstruction continues to impact on the lives of those on the ground.
The co-curator of the exhibition, Jane McElhone, guided the guest speakers through the photographs beforehand, setting out the context of each of the 50 photographs. She said that the exhibition was not meant to analyse the geo-political situation of Afghanistan, nor to predict the future; it simply tells the lives of the women in the pictures, she added. She said that the photos captured the beauty, attractiveness and vitality of Afghanistan, a country where hope is today evident as much in war weary Kabul as in the faces of the young girls sitting in class learning about the history of their country.