5cents a pound

An archive of inspiration, negotiating the world through artistic intervention

Lorenzo Tugnoli: Life is Poetry

*english translations to the text are in the caption view of each photo

Artist Statement:

Mirman Baheer Association’s members meet every Friday at the last floor of the Ministry of Culture in Kabul. Middle aged women and young girls meet together to read their poems, eat cakes and sip tea. Even these relaxed meetings form part of the cultural struggle that each one of them is fighting every day. 

Their poems talk about freedom, love and life, their language is Pashto, the language of the Taliban, a dialect used in parts of Pakistan and Afghanistan. 

Love is a sensitive issue in Afghanistan, it’s not always clear if the poems talk about spiritual or earthly love, but some of these women have to suffer the consequences of their behaviour outside the traditions. 

A girl from Kandahar burnt herself after her mother discovered some of her poems, which revealed too many details about her love. 

Despite the old Persian tradition, poetry is always been publicly banned to women. 

As members of parliament, radio and TV journalists, doctors, teachers and students, the women of Mirman Baheer Association all come from progressive families. All of them are struggling for women rights and culture, the only means and hope to break the cycle of poverty and wars that ravaged their country since decades. 

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