Honoring Honar: An ArtLords and Tape Art Mural Project

August 10-12, 13-28

ArtLords is a global Afghan-led movement using art for peace-building and social transformation. Since the failed evacuation of Kabul, ArtLords’ 50 artists have been in hiding and scattered around the world. Five ArtLords who have found refuge in Vermont—Marwa, Negina, Meetra, Zuhra, and Abdul—will work with tape artists Leah Smith and Michael Townshend to create a series of 17 temporary murals around Brattleboro honoring ArtLords murals that were destroyed by the Taliban in Afghanistan.

According to Negina, whitewashing the murals was one of the first things the Taliban did upon taking power, and the first mural they destroyed was the first she helped to create, celebrating the women’s orchestra in Kabul. The murals created for “Honoring Honar” will incorporate pieces of the original murals into new work. The word honar means “art” in Dari.

The artists will use tape to make mural stickers in the galleries at BMAC August 10-12. The artists will install 17 tape murals around Brattleboro as they’re completed, and the completed exhibit will be on view August 13-28. A map of all the murals will be available at BMAC and other venues around town, with QR codes linked to images of the original murals in Afghanistan before they were destroyed.

The Multicultural Community Center, which was established in 2021 by the Ethiopian Community Development Council (ECDC) to aid with Afghan refugee resettlement in Brattleboro, expressed a hope that Brattleboro can become ArtLords’ second home. As the only refugee-led resettlement agency, the ECDC believes that investing in refugee leadership is key to successful refugee resettlement and social transformation in our communities. This project is in line with their mission.

ArtLords was established in 2014 as a global grassroots movement of artivists motivated by the desire to pave the way for social transformation and behavioral change through employing the soft power of art and culture as a non-intrusive approach. ArtLords realized the opportunity for converting the negative psychological impact of blast walls on the people of Kabul into a positive visual experience through murals. ArtLords’ work has been celebrated by artists and leaders around the world and has been displayed at the United Nations.

Leah Smith and Michael Townshend are part of Tape Art, an evolving group of public artists who create large-scale temporary drawings and installations out of low-adhesive tape. Founded in Providence, Rhode Island, in 1989, the Tape Art Crew are cited as the world’s first tape artists. All of their artwork is intentionally temporary. Regardless of how much time it takes to create, every mural is removed within 24 hours of its completion. Over the last 33 years, Tape Art has created over 500 large murals and thousands of smaller drawings on walls around the globe. Tape Art’s extensive teaching practice has resulted in the introduction of tape drawing to over 50,000 first-time users in a wide range of institutions, including schools, community centers, elderly homes, hospitals, psych wards, and prisons.

ADMISSION: Free

BRATTLEBORO MURAL LOCATIONS

Brattleboro Museum & Art Center, 10 Vernon Street
Latchis Hotel, 50 Main Street
River Garden Marketplace, 157 Main Street
Harmony Parking Lot Tunnel, Harmony Place, between 8 and 16 High Street
Hooker Dunham Theater and Gallery, 139 Main Street
Epsilon Spires, 190 Main Street
Hermit Thrush Brewery, 29 High Street
Mitchell • Giddings Fine Arts, 181-183 Main Street
Brooks Memorial Library, 224 Main Street

View map here
View images of the original murals here

SELECTED PRESS

In honor of art: Members of Afghan-led collective make mark in Brattleboro — Brattleboro Reformer (8/10/22)
Afghan Mural Project in BrattleboroKeene Sentinel (8/10/22)