Creations by refugee artists turn heads in Brattleboro

A group of refugees from Afghanistan now living in southern Vermont are marking their new hometown — putting some of their artistic talents on display for all to see. Throughout downtown Brattleboro — on the walls, in the alleys and in the parking lots — a series of colorful surprises now await passers-by or drivers. “I’m lucky to be part of this community, which is very artistic,” said Abdullah, a refugee from Afghanistan, where he was part of a group known as ArtLords.NBC5 does not use the surnames of Abdullah and two other artists in this report, after they asked us to withhold them for security reasons.In Afghanistan, ArtLords reportedly use murals to promote peace, Abdullah said, lamenting that when the Taliban swept to power, the ArtLords’ works were immediately painted over. The reason they were whitewashed, Abdullah explained, was simply because many of the murals promoted social justice and uplifted women. Five of the ArtLords have now relocated to southern Vermont, where they can once again share their creativity. for me,” said Meetra, an ArtLord, explaining how much she enjoyed the process of creating art in Vermont and seeing people discover her projects. “As an artist, I really feel a freedom of expression” , said Zuhra, another artist who NBC5 interviewed with the help of an interpreter. “more open than in Afghanistan.” The group collaborated with artists Leah Smith and Michael Townshend for a series of 17 temporary murals inspired by the destroyed artwork from Afghanistan. The builds strewn across Brattleboro are mostly duct tape. the murals to serve as an introduction to some of Windham County’s new neighbors. “I think art is a great communication tool and a great platform for people to come together,” Martsi added. As of August 28, several permanent projects are under development, Martsi noted. Getting back to doing what they love, the ArtLords said, has been key to healing from the trauma they suffered in Afghanistan. “I feel better every day, so that’s a good thing for me,” Abdullah said, adding that he looks forward to working on more public art projects in the weeks and months to come. .

A group of Afghan refugees now living in southern Vermont mark their new hometown by displaying some of their artistic talents for all to see.

Throughout downtown Brattleboro – on the walls, in the alleys and in the parking lots – a series of colorful surprises now await passers-by or passers-by.

“I’m lucky to be part of this community, which is very artistic,” said Abdullah, a refugee from Afghanistan, where he was part of a group known as ArtLords.

NBC5 is not using the last names of Abdullah and two other artists in this report, after they asked us to withhold them for security reasons.

In Afghanistan, ArtLords would use murals to promote peace, Abdullah said, lamenting that when the Taliban came to power, ArtLords’ works were immediately painted. The reason they were whitewashed, Abdullah explained, was simply because many of the murals promoted social justice and uplifted women.

Five of the ArtLords have now relocated to southern Vermont, where they can once again share their creativity.

“It was a really nice feeling for me,” said Meetra, an ArtLord, explaining how much she enjoyed the process of making art in Vermont and seeing people learn about her projects.

“As an artist, I really feel a freedom of expression,” said Zuhra, another artist interviewed by NBC5 with the help of an interpreter. “[I feel] more open than in Afghanistan.”

The group collaborated with artists Leah Smith and Michael Townshend for a series of 17 temporary murals inspired by the destroyed artwork from Afghanistan. The builds strewn across Brattleboro are mostly made of duct tape.

“It was really nice to see people walking around, trying to find all the murals,” said Kirsten Martsi, education and community engagement manager at the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center.

Martsi said she wanted the murals to serve as an introduction to some of Windham County’s new neighbors.

“I think art is a great communication tool and a great platform for people to come together,” Martsi added.

While the pop-up exhibit is only on view until August 28, several permanent projects are in development, Martsi noted.

Getting back to doing what they love, the ArtLords said, has been key to healing from the trauma they suffered in Afghanistan.

“I feel better every day, so that’s a good thing for me,” Abdullah said, adding that he looks forward to working on more public art projects in the weeks and months to come. .