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Exhibition Information

Seamus Murphy

Shame Every Rose: Images of Afghanistan

Jun 19th, 2013 – Aug 24th, 2013

I’ll make a tattoo from my lover’s blood
and shame every rose in the green garden.

The June 2013 issue of Poetry is devoted to landays, a form of oral folk poetry comprised of couplets, created by and for the more than twenty million Pashtun women who span the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan. This companion exhibition features additional photographs taken by Seamus Murphy between November 1994 and December 2012. The exhibition photos have been paired to suggest the couplets of the landays and are meant to be read left to right. While each pairing suggests a possible narrative, a tension exists between what we infer from the subject’s bodily expressions and what we cannot know of their possession and intention. In this way the combined images relate to the anonymous, clandestine, and very dangerous work of the landays.

Seamus Murphy began photographing Afghanistan in 1994, leading to the book A Darkness Visible: Afghanistan (Saqi Books, 2008), a focus on the Afghan people through the turbulent years 1994 – 2007. His film of those experiences was nominated for a 2012 Emmy Award and received the 2012 Liberty in Media Prize. His multimedia film Syrian Spring was nominated for a Prix Bayeux-Calvados for War Reporting. He has made films for musician P.J. Harvey and a film on the London Olympics for the New Yorker. He is publishing a book of photographs on America in 2014. “Photography is part history, part magic,” says Murphy.

Find more poetry and photos of Afghanistan in the June 2013 issue of Poetry »

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