"Our situation is like sad music that plays for a moment"
Young digital illustrator Mozhdah depicts a year in history for girls and women in Afghanistan
The collapse of the government 20 years ago and the start of girls’ schools after six years. Little girls went to school and studied under the shadow of relative peace for 20 years. They were happy that maybe a future waited for them, but unfortunately it was just a dream.
15 August 2021
The collapse of the Afghan government after 20 years. The start of war and the loss of peace. Afghanistan returns to 20 years ago. Fear and apprehension from little girls who have now grown up. They studied for 20 years, and now they are thinking about their unknown future. It is painful to think about... Will we study again or have a job? Will we be able to walk freely in society again?
26 October 2021
Mothers forced to sell little girls due to poverty. This shows the real failure of a country. In Afghanistan, all the unpleasant problems must be borne by a woman. This is something that is not new; it began in the past and has only intensified.
9 February 2022
Massive demonstrations of Afghan women and girls against the regulations imposed by the government. Women proved that they will defend their rights. They will keep trying to be able to enjoy their value as a human. We want to be supported to get out of this crisis.
20 February 2022
Imprisonment of protesting women and forced confessions. No one has the right to protest in Afghanistan. We have to live like a slave to save our lives.
23 March 2022
More than 300 days have passed since schools were closed for girls. This is a great tragedy for all of Afghanistan. Education is the right of all human beings, because the growth of a society is directly related to this issue. Women and girls are gradually being excluded from society, but unfortunately, I see that this big issue is being forgotten.
19 May 2022
Mandatory hijab for women. Female television presenters must cover their faces. Women should not be seen in society. This is disappointing for all Afghan women. In my opinion, covering women's faces without their consent is a humiliation. We are insulted here for the crime of being women.
19 July 2022
In several provinces of the country, due to poverty and violence, 27 people committed suicide in the last two months, including women. Various sanctions against women have existed for a long time. A woman in Afghanistan can never live completely as she wants. The forced imposition of a life against women's will causes them to commit suicide.
20 July 2022
According to the new laws, Afghan women can no longer continue their work. Women in Afghanistan should ignore all their past efforts for development of the country and stay at home. These laws are unreasonable! In the last 20 years, women have made a lot of effort to develop the society. It is cruel to ignore all our efforts and force us to stay at home.
It is sad. All the new laws are against Afghan women. We were deprived of all our rights. We are ignored, our faces must be covered, we don’t have the right to education, and we can’t continue our jobs freely. We wish for new peace to restore our rights. Our situation is like sad music that is played for a moment, and others are sad when they hear it, but after the sound is turned off, it is forgotten. Unfortunately, our voices are cut off and Afghan girls are gradually forgotten.
Note from the artist
My name is Mozhdah. I am 24 years old, born in western Afghanistan. I have been painting since childhood and I have always loved art. My interest in art grew so fast, and I could not separate it from my life. By using visual, auditory, and written components, I turned external realities into works of art. I realized that expressing issue and themes in the form of art can be effective and beautiful.
In 2016, I entered university and studied fine arts and graphic design. I found myself good at illustration and started to strengthen my skills in this area. Now I illustrate books and paint or draw in my free time.
"I am worried about the future, and about how long women in Afghanistan are supposed to be under pressure.
I even face problems as an artist, because art is losing its value here."
It is difficult to be a young woman in Afghanistan. All women in the world have the right to work and study, but this right was taken away from us. We already faced challenges, and I designed these illustrations to show how the last year has been even harder.
I remember certain moments and watched as our rights were taken away. Now I hope that the world will not forget about us and keep fighting for what was stolen from us.
You can find more of Mozhdah's personal design projects on her Instagram: @mozhda_payman1