Podcast

The Southasian conversation: Arts on the streets

By The Editors

10 December 2018

Conversations with a Maldivian photographer and an Afghan artist.

As artists from all across Southasia gathered for Amnesty’s first ‘Arts for Rights’ festival here in Colombo, we seized the opportunity to talk to some of them for the second episode of our podcast, The Southasian Conversation. Editor Aunohita Mojumdar was in conversation with Maldivian photographer Dhahau Naseem, whose first-ever exhibition captured intense moments of confrontation between the Maldivian people and the Maldivian state. Her photographs provide a visual documentary of the years of repressive autocracy in the Maldives, which recently voted against the government of Abdulla Yameen.

Deputy Associate Editor Shubhanga Pandey spoke with Omaid Sharifi of ArtLords, a collective which has used the streets of Kabul to speak truth to power through murals. ArtLords, whose name is a play on Afghanistan’s better known ‘warlords’, make the blast walls erected in Kabul their canvas for art and public engagement.

Below we provide a scattershot view of the festival which made for compelling viewing and gave a sense of Southasian solidarity.

An exhibition of the works of veteran photojournalist Shahidul Alam and Maldivian photographer Dhahau Naseem.

An exhibition of the works of veteran photojournalist Shahidul Alam and Maldivian photographer Dhahau Naseem.

 

Shahidul Alam's iconic image of singer and performer Smriti Azad protesting at a rally at Shaid Minar in 1994

Shahidul Alam’s iconic image of singer and performer Smriti Azad protesting at a rally at Shaheed Minar in 1994.

 

Dhahau Naseem’s ‘Ufuraalun’. The Dhivehi word, meaning ‘to pluck’, is used to depict how the Maldivian security forces would eye crowds of public protestors to decide which persons to go after.

Dhahau Naseem’s ‘Ufuraalun’. The Dhivehi word, meaning ‘to pluck’, is used to depict how the Maldivian security forces would eye crowds of public protestors to decide which persons to go after.

 

From Shahidul Alam’s work on the Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.

From Shahidul Alam’s work on the Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.

 

Films from across Southasia which underlined the shared challenges in the struggle for human rights.

Films from across Southasia which underlined the shared challenges in the struggle for human rights.

 

ArtLords from Afghanistan pay tribute to the memory of Pakistani activist Sabeen Mahmud at the Amnesty International office in Colombo.

ArtLords from Afghanistan pay tribute to the memory of Pakistani activist Sabeen Mahmud at the Amnesty International office in Colombo.

 

A provocative panel discussion on where Sri Lanka had gone wrong with human rights.

A provocative panel discussion on where Sri Lanka had gone wrong with human rights.

 

A T-shirt says it all.

A T-shirt says it all.

 

***

~Listen to the previous episode of The Southasian Conversation, ‘Women in Media’, where we talk to journalists and media professionals Najiba Ayubi from Kabul, Subina Shrestha from Kathmandu, and Nupur Basu from Bengaluru.

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