You are here: Home EXHIBITION: Same same, but different Artists Gazelle Samizay Kabul Gutters

Kabul Gutters

Kabul Gutter. 8x12 in. March (2005). Kabul, Afghanistan.

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 “This is a view of one of Kabul’s gutters.  War has taken its toll on the environment.  There are very few trees to prevent erosion, and the once paved roads and sidewalks have been reduced to dust.  Since most of Kabul still doesn’t have electricity, the air is thick with dust and the diesel fumes of generators.  Unfortunately, there is no infrastructure in terms of trash disposal or sewage.  In addition, very few Afghans are educated about the effects of environmental degradation. The saddest thing I heard my mom say is why she could no longer hear birds chirping in Kabul.

 These gutters line the sidewalk and I believe [they] serve as an above ground sewer system. There is no trash disposal system there, (garbage collection, etc) so people throw their trash wherever, but also in these gutters. The black pigments you see are oil.

 The reflection of the trees was by chance, and the picture is “authentic.”  When I first saw the gutter, it seemed to be a more “True” representation of Afghanistan.  You can see the murky water, oil, a whisky bottle, and beer bottles. It is a commentary of the corruption that lies beneath two colliding cultures-Afghan and American. And while they are colliding, they both share something in common: corruption.  The US government paints a picture of Afghanistan as their version of democracy in the Middle East. But underneath that lies the reality of Oil. The Taliban paints their version of Islam which forbids such things as alcohol. But underneath that lies the reality that not all Afghans adhere to this strict code.

 It is also a commentary on the destructive (not creative) forces of war. And it is a reminder that war does not just have a human toll but an incredible toll on the environment.  We are an integral part of the environment, and we won’t survive as humans without things like trees, clean water, etc.”

Gazelle Samizay (2007)


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