(Eve Jackson’s article appeared on France24, 8/27.)
When the Taliban swept back into power in Afghanistan on August 16, Kabul-based artist and curator Rada Akbar felt she had no other option than to leave. Last week, she managed to escape to France, where she is now in quarantine. In an exclusive interview with FRANCE 24’s culture editor Eve Jackson, Akbar describes the Taliban’s bloody crackdown on female artists. “They would either put me in prison or kill me,” she said.
Over the past few months, Akbar had been working with French authorities to try to get her artwork out of Kabul. When she felt she could no longer stay in Afghanistan, the authorities helped her evacuate.
Akbar is known for her striking self-portraits that represent independence and heritage, and has an annual exhibition called Abarzanan, which translates as “Superwomen”.
The installation honours Afghan women who’ve shown strength and resilience in the face of misogyny and patriarchal oppression. Earlier this year, however, the exhibition was forced online after the artist received death threats.