Amid Afghanistan’s continuous conflict, the Kabul-based ArtLords was founded on the premise that art and creativity could bring comfort, promote peace, and pave the way for social transformation after decades of war. A play on the term warlords, the group has gained fame for erecting powerful murals and other artistic installations and emerged as a leading platform for artists and activists across the country to advance their hopes for a sustainable peace process through messages of tolerance and empathy. Recent projects include “Let’s Talk Afghanistan,” which fosters cross-provincial dialogue between Afghans of all ages, gender, and ethnicity in 21 provinces. 

On January 28, USIP and ArtLords founders Omaid Sharifi and Kabir Mokamel held a conversation on Afghan art, music, and culture and the important role they play in uniting Afghans during this pivotal but uncertain moment in the peace process. Sharifi and Mokamel were joined by artist and activist Hamidullah Natiq for a discussion of their art, activism, and peace. Following the conversation, USIP presented a showcase of the artists’ work commissioned specifically for this event, and the audience was invited to participate in a live mural painting. 

Continue the conversation with #AfghanPeace.

Speakers

The Honorable Nancy Lindborg, welcoming remarks
President & CEO, United States Institute of Peace

Ambassador Roya Rahmaniopening remarks
Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to the United States

Kabir Mokamel
Cofounder and Creative Director, ArtLords

Hamidullah Natiq, performance
Artist and Local Peace Activist 

Omaid Sharifi
Cofounder and President, ArtLords

Johnny Walsh, moderator
Senior Expert, U.S Institute of Peace
 

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