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Afghan Women's Project Comes to UW

January 27, 2009
This photo of Zainab is one of many images of Afghan women that are featured in Peggy Kelsey's talks and photo exhibition. (Peggy Kelsey Photo)

Talks and a photo exhibition that dispel myths about Afghanistan and its people will be presented at the University of Wyoming in early February.

Peggy Kelsey will present her work about Afghan women. Her talks will coincide with her photo exhibition, the "Afghan Women's Project," which can be seen in the Fine Arts Building lobby from Feb. 1-Feb. 14.

"When we think of Afghanistan, we often think in terms of stereotypes about Afghan men, about the burka, and about Islamic fundamentalism," says Marianne Kamp, associate professor of history and director of UW's Women's Studies Program. "Peggy Kelsey tells stories about Afghan women's lives and their own attitudes, allowing us to see Afghanistan in new ways."

Kelsey's first slide show, "Women of Afghanistan," will be presented Monday, Feb. 2, at 4:10 p.m. in Room 110 of the UW Anthropology Building. It shows scenes from the places she visited around Afghanistan, including Taloqan in the north, Herat in the west, and Bamiyan, former home of Buddhist statues that were destroyed by the Taliban in 2001. Shown throughout the program are the faces and stories of some of the amazing women she met.

The second slide show, "Spirit of Afghanistan," will be presented Tuesday, Feb. 3, from noon-1:30 p.m in Room 229 of the UW Education Annex and again Friday, Feb. 6, at 7 p.m. at the Albany County Public Library. Kelsey will explain some of the issues each woman faces. The women come from many walks of life -- wealthy and poor, educated and illiterate, young and old, and represent a variety of ethnic groups.

The Women's Studies Program, the Wyoming Humanities Council, the International Studies Program, Counselor Education Department and Eastern Wyoming College sponsor the event.

As a professional photographer and resident of the Austin, Texas, area since 1980, Kelsey met with a delegation of 14 Afghan women who passed through Austin in the fall of 2002. She was amazed at how strong and full of life some of these women were in spite of all the difficulties they'd encountered. Talking with them about their lives moved her to begin the "Afghan Women's Project," and in 2003, she spent six weeks in Afghanistan and returned with portraits and stories of 40 Afghan women.

Posted on Tuesday, January 27, 2009

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