by Niala Mohammad
Though she refuses comment on her family or ethnic ties, one thing is irrefutable; she is the daughter of Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani. She is as intelligent as her father and as poised as her mother but one thing sets her apart-she is stingy with words but generous with her work to society.
Mariam Ghani graduated with her Bachelors from New York University and Masters from the School of Visual Arts. She is a Brooklyn-based artist writer, filmmaker, and teacher. Her eloquent style of writing and deep understanding of Afghan history can be seen through her works. But her projects do not just revolve around areas pertaining to her “ethnic ties”; she has produced and presented work from all over the world and has been showcased internationally.
When VOA Deewa asked Mariam Ghani, what made her gravitate towards the arts? Her reply was philosophical, “being an artist allows me to investigate many different places, moments, and ideas, and also allows me to present that research in many different ways.” Mariam presents her research through the art of writing, photography and film making.
In an artist profile with Studio Visit; a web based initiative that offers virtual presentations of artists working in the New York area, Mariam describes her passion as, “My work explores how histories, places, identities and communities are constructed and reconstructed, and the shifting private and public narratives that comprise and contest those constructions. I am particularly fascinated by border zones, nomanslands, translations, transitions, and the slippages where cultures intersect; security cultures, archives, architectures of democracy, and national imaginaries; places where nature and artifice imitate and influence each other; and cities in conflict and post-conflict conditions”
The young Ms.Ghani has a knack for capturing time, moments of history and cultural evolvement; in fact she recently worked on a project regarding unfinished Afghan films from the 80’s. “For several years I have been advocating through my critical and curatorial work for greater attention to be paid to the films held in the state film archive of Afghanistan, Afghan Films. The films in the archive are unique windows into Afghanistan’s past, and should be both circulated in the present and preserved for the future. Radio Television Afghanistan likewise has an amazingly rich archive of audiovisual material deserving of wider attention. Both institutions are working towards digitizing their archives, but both need more support for those efforts.”
Mariam’s ability for capturing time via showcasing-construction, destruction and reconstruction of infrastructure history in various cities can be seen in her Speculation Series project. VOA Deewa asked Mariam what she was looking to capture in this project and she stated, “The Speculations series includes photographs from a number of different cities, including Kabul, and documents the different ways in which those cities have been expanded or rebuilt.”
Her tale-telling pictures speak a story for itself and her sophisticated style of writing gives readers the ability to picture Kabul’s past and present simultaneously. This private yet talented young lady is the First Daughter of the new Afghanistan and a role model for young women to follow.
You can learn more about Mariam Ghani’s work on her website: