Saturday, October 17, 2009

National Gallery of Art

Today we went to Kabul's National Gallery of Art.The gallery is just down the road on the right. That road is one way: note the flow of traffic and the arrow sign.

For some reason (?) rather than driving the long way around and approaching the gallery going the right way on the one way street, we didn't.

The driver just aimed up that one way street, going the wrong way. I seemed to be the only one in the vehicle reacting to all the cars whizzing by and pretty much dodging us. Everyone else was calm-ish. I have yet to develop that Zen place in my inner being - or whatever.

Oh well ...we made it and didn't get arrested or anything. The prevailing sentiment seems to be that Afghanistan has a lot more to be concerned about than one way streets and which way people travel on them.

The Gallery:
And the gardens which, of course, are beautiful.

The sign says 'Welcome to the opening exhibition of the Garden of Peace and Hope for young Artists and Musicians.'
A 'four o'clock?' with a two-colored blossom.

We were the only guests in the gallery. It costs $5.00; a ticket was written out for us.

We left our shoes at the door and we were given others to wear inside. We were told if we wanted to take any pictures it would cost us 50 Afs ($1). A docent accompanied us and filled us in on the history behind some of the paintings and our escort translated.

Salang Road (artist Yousf Asfi), the road from Kabul to Mazar-e-Sharif through the Hindu Kush mountain range.

Amanullah Khan (Artist Gargani ). The reformist king of the 1920's and according to our escort, the greatest Afghan ruler. It was listed as 'needle sewing' (needlework). A registry number of 572 was assigned to the painting; I wasn't able to find out what registry it was.

Habibullah Khan, father of Amanullah Khan (Artist Prof. Gh. M.Maimanage)

A case full of 210 Destroyed Relics of Taliban Regime.

Torn up pictures.

Our escort told us they mainly destroyed pictures of women.

They missed this one. Date is 1956 - before the Russians came, before the Taliban.

The lighting was mostly bad, the picture frames were damaged, many paintings had no labels and at one stage the guide wiped her hand over a picture to remove the dust. Like the museum and the zoo it was a sad place. But once again I was impressed : impressed with the guide's concern about the dust on a painting and the museum's bravery for displaying what the Taliban had done to their collection.

I'm glad I went.


  1. What's another name for "Four O'Clocks?" My great-grandmother used to call them that, and I've never heard them called that since then.

  2. Mirabilis jalapa, I think. They grew well at Folly Beach and here they are - in Afghanistan. Go figure.