Art in Afghanistan has been a major casualty of religious fanaticism, war, and lack of tourism “Afghani art suffered during the Taliban regime though the Afghan expatriates kept it alive in USA, Europe and elsewhere. In Afghanistan we face many challenges for organising exhibitions of our work; prices for paintings are very less as there are no tourists, in earlier times there were a lot of tourism hence it was much better” says Salim Attaie a Kabul based Afghan painter who is well known for his oil paintings depicting life in Afghanistan.
Attaie got the first chance to exhibit his works outside Afghanistan when India International Centre organised a group exhibition of Afghan artists recently. He is grateful that India International Centre took this initiative and feels that people should not associate his nation merely with violence and see its beauty “Unfortunately people associate violence with our country, people of the world should also know that Afghanistan has art and artists too” he says
Attai who calls himself an art lover is a self taught artist “I have always been fond of paintings, prior to the Taliban regime I traded in paintings. I had to close that business once the Taliban came into power. In 2001 when the Taliban regime was dislodged I started a gallery in Kabul and from 2008 I started to paint myself.”
His gallery ‘Nooqta’ is a popular haunt for art lovers of Kabul and he is busy training the next generation of Afghan artists having already trained more than 200 painters.
Attai uses bright and soothing colours in his works and hopes that people get happiness from viewing his works “My works are more close to abstract than realism, which means that people who view my works would interpret these as per their own mindset.” he says.