Green School highlights Afghan art and culture through exhibition

Written by Melissa Burgess

ImageAfter many months of planning, preparation and hard work, the Green School has officially opened its exhibition “Turquoise Mountain: Artists Transforming Afghanistan.”

The opening reception took place on Thursday, Oct. 26 at the Green School’s first floor gallery and lobby.

“We are so proud to unveil an exhibit that tells an important and compelling story of revitalization and renewal in Afghanistan after more than three decades of war,” said John F. Stack Jr., founding dean of the Green School. “It’s such an honor to have it here at FIU and at the Green School.”

Turquoise Mountain is a British non-profit organization founded in 2006 that focuses on reviving traditional Afghan arts and architecture, providing jobs to Afghan artisans and restoring historic areas of Afghanistan. The exhibition is a result of the organization's dedication to showcasing artisans' artwork and craftsmanship.

This is the first showing of Turquoise Mountain in the United States since its debut at the Smithsonian Institution's Freer/Sackler Gallery in Washington, D.C., in 2016.

“The exhibit we are hosting is yet another stake in the ground to promote important values and to demonstrate beyond any doubt that there’s much more to Islam than stereotypes we see in our political discourse,” said Stack.

Several pieces were created especially for the Green School by Turquoise Mountain artisans, like traditional Afghan ceramics, woodwork and jewelry. The exhibit also features documentary videos and large scale photographs of the artists.

ImagePedro Botta, senior director for strategic initiatives at the Green School and the project lead of Turquoise Mountain, said that the main attraction of the exhibition is the custom made traditional Tekke-designed peace carpet.

“Everything here was made for us and it was a labor of love,” he said. “The Green School Peace Carpet, as we decided to call it, is the focus and we wanted to dedicate it to the idea that we can have a just, peaceful and prosperous world.”

The opening reception also included traditional Middle Eastern refreshments, food from the Rice House of Kabob and music from multi-instrumentalists Jorge Alfano and Jeff Deen.

Juan Jose Vargas, a junior majoring in art history, said Turquoise Mountain was one of the most interesting exhibitions he’s ever attended.

“It was so simple, but the information and the traditional artwork was by far the most interesting thing,” he said. “I learned so much. It was honestly amazing.”

The exhibit will run through the end of June 2018.