Afghanistan’s ArtLords, a group of Afghan activists and artists in Kabul, has been nominated for 2019 Freedom of Expression Awards.
The group has painted a series of murals on Kabul walls, highlighting social problems, supporting Afghan forces, defending freedom of expression and women’s rights. Index on Censorship’s Freedom of Expression Awards exists to celebrate individuals or groups who have had a significant impact fighting censorship anywhere in the world.
Awards are offered in four categories: Arts, Campaigning, Digital Activism and Journalism. Anyone who has had a demonstrable impact in tackling censorship is eligible. Winners are honored at a gala celebration in London, join Index’s Awards Fellowship program and receive dedicated training and support.
“The most focus is on arts and culture and on the use of arts as a tool for civic campaigns. Among the nominees there are reporters and artists who have been imprisoned and those who work for freedom of expression, democracy and human rights,” ArtLords founder, Omaid Sharifi said.
ArtLords has been nominated for the awards along with attendants from Turkey, Azerbaijan and Saudi Arabia.
Selected from over 400 public nominations and a shortlist of 16, the 2019 Freedom of Expression Awards shortlist exemplifies courage in the face of censorship.
ArtLords is a grassroots movement of artists and volunteers in Afghanistan who encourage ordinary citizens, especially women and children, to paint murals on issues which concern them. ArtLords completed over 400 murals in 16 provinces of the country. In March 2018, for International Women’s Day, ArtLords painted a tribute to Professor Hamida Barmaki, a human rights defender killed in a terrorist attack six years ago.