Behind the Burka: Opening Reception

What: Behind the Burka opening reception, and book signing
Opening reception: Thursday, August 26 from 6:00pm to 10:00pm
Exhibition hours: August 27 through 29, from 11:00am to 7:00pm
Where: SOMArts Bay Gallery, 934 Brannan St. (enter down long driveway)
Who: Asma Salehi
What else: $2 admission fee supports ADRP (Afghanistan Dental Relief Program)

SOMArts Bay Gallery will host an exhibition of work by artist Asma Salehi, as well as a book signing for her work Buzaak Chinie (The Porcelain Goat), a traditional Afghan folk tale retold and illustrated by Salehi.

Asma Salehi was born in Afghanistan in 1972. After her father vanished in 1978, she and her family searched for him in vain for three years. With the war intensifying, the family needed to escape Afghanistan for their safety, and fled to Pakistan where they waited for two years before finally coming to the United States. The dual struggles of going to school and trying to make ends meet in the U.S. paid off when Asma’s artistic talent was discovered in 1991. Since then, has been compelled as an artist to create work that challenges people to think about critical issues around the world.

In “Behind the Burka,” Asma hopes to raise awareness of the lack of opportunities and freedom for Afgahan women after suffering so much strife over the years. Women in Afghanistan have been victims of war, domestic violence, illiteracy and poor physical health for the past 25 years. Many books have been written and stories have been told about the plight of Afghan women but little progress or improvements have been made. Asma illustrates these forgotten and unheard voices on canvas and sculptural form.

The expressive realism of Asma’s work helps the audience feel the pain and suffering as well as the joy and glory of the Afghan women, revealing their humanity. The artist herself is breaking cultural boundaries by going public to reveal her talent for the first time. Several series of her art work will be displayed alongside the “Behind the Burka”. She is amongst the few Afghan female artists who are making a bold visual statement to convey the harsh realities of women in Afghanistan.

“Behind the Burka” comes to SOMArts with support from the Affordable Space Program.