Arts / Street artist makes inroads to peace

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Former Canberra artist Kabir Mokamel’s work on display on the streets of Kabul.
Former Canberra artist Kabir Mokamel’s work on display on the streets of Kabul.
IT’S been two years since we last heard from former Canberra artist (and graphic designer at the ANU) Kabir Mokamel.

Kabir astonished his mates in the ACT arts community when, after many years living in Australia, decided to repatriate to his native Afghanistan, where he has become well known as the country’s top street artist.

“I am doing really well,” he told “CityNews” by email from Kabul. “I started painting on big concrete security barriers in Kabul. We started a big mural on the National Directorate of Security… The text says: ‘I see you, corruption is not hidden from God and people’s gaze’.

Kabir says his work has received big interest within the wider public because of its capacity to reflect on the messages in his art.

According to Kabir, the work has attracted a lot of attention from international media, confirmed when we went looking and found a story on the venture at facebook.com

As well, we found that Nick Boraine, representing the Global Arts Corps, had participated in a panel discussion on the role of the arts in reconciliation and transitional justice with “renowned local Afghan street artist Kabir Mokamel (Peace Street).”

“Scriptures, symbolic slogans and graffiti on the walls in Kabul belong to the works gathering the most attention from the public…Kabir Mokamel is one of the artists who believes in street art to change how society thinks for the better,” Boraine said.

The Kabul-based agency Cetena Group has been behind the next generation of association-strong “ad slots” filled by Kabir with tank silhouettes, love hearts and butterflies conveying the idea that only a common effort, coming from within society, can bring about peace in Afghanistan.

“Kabir’s emotive work conveys so many powerful messages, prompting people to think more about educational benefits, their children’s future and questioning how to deal with the pain this extraordinary country continues to endure”. Paul Wade, chief of operations at Cetena Group said.

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Helen Musa
“CityNews” arts editor

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