Watch Light at the End of the Tunnel 33, a special session in support of Afghanistan with Belqis Youssofzay and Tahmina Maskinyar. Informative, educational, inspiring and hopeful. Important viewing for all! CPD below.
“This is a moment in history and every small action collectively matters – even reading an article, thinking about how you’re reflecting on this, and exposing yourself to Afghan voices as much as possible… Afghan voices and Afghan scholarship that is self-determined is critical to engage with.” — Tahmina Maskinyar
Parlour’s longtime friend Maryam Gusheh co-hosts this very special Light for Afghanistan session with Justine Clark, bringing invaluable insights and commentary. Our guest speakers are Afghan Australian architect Belqis Youssofzay and creative producer Tahmina Maskinyar who are part of a newly formed group of creatives from the Afghan diaspora dedicated to supporting and protecting Afghan artists, artisans, scholars and writers in Afghanistan and Australia.
The group “formed overnight” with the aim to amplify the voices of people in Afghanistan, to sustain visibility and to provide targeted aid to particular areas and groups, such as artists, artisans and scholars as well as doctors and hospitals. They also aim to investigate future pathways for asylum for Afghan people.
Belqis speaks eloquently of the historical context of Afghanistan, the Taliban’s oppression of women and censorship of cultural expression, the recent resurgence of voice, expression, music, dance and design in Afghanistan over the last two decades, and the abrupt destruction of this progress today.
The narrowing of architecture curriculum to Western architecture, and the need for our universities to better reflect the cultural diversity of its student cohorts, was another compelling theme. Maryam comments that “the systematic erasure of the built heritage” in Afghanistan and neighbouring countries should galvanise us to bring “visibility to the rich built history and various sites representative to cultural diversity”.
While the session raises many challenging issues, it was also hopeful and inspiring, with plenty of ideas and practical advice on what the Parlour community can do here and now to support Afghan communities in Australia and overseas. (Belqis and Tahmina outline five actions we can all take in solidarity with Afghanistan here.)
For those who attended the event, there is bonus footage at the end from the conversation after the event closed about the situation facing women in Afghanistan and those who are bravely protesting. You can also purchase access to the CPD below.
All proceeds from this session go to supporting The UNHCR Refugee Agency: For Afghanistan.
If you enjoy the video and are not purchasing access to the CPD questions, please consider donating to support Parlour’s ongoing work.
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This session was recorded on Friday 10 September, 2021. The 2021 series of Light at the End of the Tunnel is presented in collaboration with the Melbourne School of Design, University of Melbourne.