Black Lines


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In 2023, AFI commissioned Jahan Ara Rafi to design five original works for our report “Artistic Exodus”. In an ode to the experiences of suppression and forced migration affecting Afghan women under the Taliban, Jahan’s work “Black Lines” centers on a female figure with a contorted neck and closed eyes, symbolizing the process of Afghan women sinking into themselves under suppressive structures and in degrading circumstances. The figure’s face is marked in Perso-Arabic script with each word representing an Afghan female name. Rafi paints in deep crepuscular shades of red and black to evoke the twilight hour following a sunset, a symbol of the shrinking horizons of Afghan women under Taliban rule.

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