Afghan Artist Hangama Amari Aims to Paint a Different Picture

By Gabrielle Cox

DENVER (CBS4)– An artist featured at the Denver Art Museum wants to paint a different picture of her homeland, Afghanistan. Hangama Amari is the first living Afghan artist to have her work highlighted.

(credit: CBS)

Amari creates art with textiles. Her images are bright and colorful, a reflection of her memory of home. She says, “All my work is based on those memories that I have left from Afghanistan.”

Her childhood memories are happy ones.

“They are always very celebratory, very happy memories and that’s why my pieces are so colorful,” she says, “So if I’m painting a different picture it might tell a different story.”

(credit: CBS)

Amari fled as a refugee in 1996 as the Taliban first rose to power. She remembers how life started to shift under Taliban rule. Her art also reflects the displacement she witnessed of women in Afghanistan.

Christoph Heinrich, the Frederick and Jan Mayer Director of the Denver Art Museum, says it’s important to, “see a woman’s take on a culture that is so much shaped by the men.”

Amari’s favorite piece was inspired by her mother, who was a refugee and a single mother of four children. Amari says the piece is based on, “a beautiful pose that I saw in a photograph and I wanted to dedicate that piece and kind of bring that piece alive.” She finds traces of home, even in Colorado. “I feel like the landscape of Denver really reminds me of Afghanistan for some strange reason. I think its because of the geography, it’s also surrounded by mountains.

(credit: CBS)

You can see Amari’s art at the David B. Smith Gallary through July 1.