Art in Afghanistan was a moot point for years during the rule of the Taliban, but recently journalists have been returning to the country to find recovery in the form of art. I recently listened to a writer on the voyeuristic program "The Moth" who had traveled to Afghanistan in search of art, any art, and he was told by government officials and liaisons that there was no art in Afghanistan, still, and he decided to wander among the people to see for himself.
This writer had a history of depression, and he commented, to the amusement of the audience, that Afghanistan was probably not the best place to go if you suffer from depression. Still, the story was one of progression and discovery; he told of finding painters who were hired to paint over people in the museum portraits, musicians silenced, poets invisible in burqas. The painters who covered the portraits came back after the liberation with water and soft cloths and uncovered the paint. The poets still wear burqas because they would feel exposed if they removed them, and they liked finding stories in what Harry Potter tried on for those of us in the western cultures, the invisibility cloaks. And the musicians dug their instruments out of piles of kindling and played from practiced dreams. One man was asked, "Didn't you go crazy, not having any music, or not knowing when you would have music again?" The man answered, "I thought I might...but then I went to the market, and bought twenty pigeons and twenty doves, and that was my music." His house was "a mess," told the writer, but he had music, any form of music.
A writer, a creative, looks for the smallest thing to stay alive. I can't say that I'd buy the birds. But I already have a burqa--not one of cloth, but one of network. I am invisible. If stories be found there, then I should be able to rival Joyce.