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Dec 03, 2012, 06.19 PM IST | Source: PTI

Afghan artist showcases Indian connect at Kochi Biennale

Afghan artist showcases Indian connect at Kochi Biennale

Kochi, Dec 3 (PTI) Working out of Kabul, a place notorious for the Taliban destroying works of art like the destruction of the world's tallest Buddha statues has not prevented artist Amanullah Mojadidi from creating art even if it is what he calls "guerrilla art". "On one side there is strong state censorship, on the other, there is the presence of the Taliban. But if you have fire in your belly, no one can stop you from working," says the artist, who is presently in Kerala for the Kochi-Muziris Biennale, a contemporary art exhibition starting December 12. The 41-year-old artist who had piqued interest with his "gangster style" art campaign during the elections in Afghanistan in 2011, is now building an installation of artefacts placed in an old style structure erected in a square pit in the backyard of a sea-facing heritage building in Fort Kochi. The work is Mojadidi's way of telling the story of his ancestors who according to him, were Sufis migrated to Punjab where they stayed for over a couple of centuries before returning to Afghanistan in the 16th century. "I am creating an active and giant archaeological site to create a story of my ancestors that challenges orthodoxy of religion," says the artist who has put up signages in English and Malayalam at the installation. The artist who sports a beard and tattoos in French, Sanskrit and Japanese and who has exhibited previously in the US, Paris, Singapore, Hong Kong, Cairo and Dubai, says working in Kabul can be problematic because of the Taliban but he has personally never been directly threatened by them. "The Taliban are indifferent. Anyway, I criticise warlords, western militia and the Afghan government through my art. So each one of them thinks I am against the groups they also hate." Also, he says he has never publically exhibited in Afghanistan ever. "I don't sign my works with my name... I am indulging in a sort of guerrilla art. I perform in the public but also create a separation from them. "Through my works, I am exposing hypocrisy, challenging identity, shaking stereotypes. There is a need to create a dialogue. It does not necessarily need answers but it is important to create questions," he says. MORE PTI ANS ANS

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