Calligraphy and drums at the fort

26 06 2010

I’ve not got long to go here in Kabul so I’m going to try to knock out a few more shot and sweet posts about life in Kabul both inside and outside Murad Khane.  

Calligraphic screen acts as a window beween internal spaces


Firstly a few more pictures on progress in the Great Serai Extension, the first new build to (almost) reach completion.  

Calligraphic window in the Great Serai Extension looking out from the darkened classroom to the corridor and courtyard beyond


 This is a window between computer classroom and corridor. The design is loosely based on art work from the calligraphy school although has been deliberately abstracted so as not to be too distracting or misconstrued.  

Detail from the Calligraphic window on the Great Serai Extension


Made from mud and straw, literally kargill, with steel reinforcement it has been rendered with lime plaster for a clean-cut finish. Although constrained by concerns over ‘cultural insensitivities’ the design team have enjoyed some success with individual features in this artistic centre.  

Meanwhile the new Afghan minister for mines, an unfortunate title in a country strewn with explosives, has declared that Afghanistan’s mineral wealth will mean that Afghanistan “could be self-sufficient within a decade“.  

This is more ridiculous than claiming that the country could be secure within a shorter time-frame despite the gulf between warring parties alongside Karzai’s apparent double-dealing. He is obviously getting excited about the $4 billion deal between Afghanistan and China over the Aynak copper mines that was made possible by strong support for the agreement from the Chinese government and a likely $30m bribe received by the then minister for mines.  

A performance of contemporary percussion given by Norma Ferreira in Turquoise Mountain's fort.


This irregularity has led to the suspension of a similar deal over iron ore mines at Hajigak. China’s less regulatory approach to industry and in particular mining makes it more suited to doing business in Afghanistan but whether this opening up of Afghanistan’s deposits will lead to economic development of the country to the benefit of the people is debateable. 

Having previously focussed on a broader, lighter hand in Kabul culture the TM culture department has recently started to hold more events in the fort. The pictures here are of a performance by percussionist Norma Ferreira who is teaching percussion here in Kabul. 

Norma giving it her all on the maracas.


The following night a visiting artist in residence offered his thoughts on geopolitical issues and art. Although one or two Afghan staff thought that the contemporary percussion was too modern both events were well received and a good use of the Qala’s courtyard space in promoting TM’s cultural kudos. 

Duncan DJ