Nassauischer Kunstverein

Yama Rahimi

20 May - 02 Jul 2017

Yama Rahimi, Creation Song, 2014, 7:17 min, Videostill
Courtesy und ©: the artist
Yama Rahimi, I and You!, 2015, 8:21 min, Videostill
Courtesy und ©: the artist
20 May – 02 July 2017

The dominance of patriarchal structures in Afghanistan, and the related aspects of women's oppression, are discussed in the videos of Yama Rahimi (*1992, Maidan Wardak, Afghanistan). Two of his video works, I and You! and Creation Song, are shown in the Nassauische Kunstverein under the title San, which means woman in Dari transcription.

Although the democratic constitution of Afghanistan guarantees equal rights for men and women, they are still not allowed to actively participate in political and social life. There is an insurmountable gap between the constitutional directives and the real everyday life. Although women are physically present in the public, they are still intellectually patronised by men.

In his work I and you! Yama Rahimi, reduces four women with cinematic means to their covered bodies. The clothing and number of women and men depicted are related to four stages of social development in the past hundred years of Afghan history. With the help of image montage, these bodies are initially placed on four expressionless men's heads in square frames, until at the end of the video the actual faces of the women can be seen without constricting framing. In the video, the artist gives the women, so to speak, symbolically their faces back. The digital images liberate them from the tight scaffolding, which was constructed from their position on the fringes of society: without the possibility of independent elections, as a subordinate gender, shaped by violence of men as well as abused by state authorities, their rights in everyday life are purely theoretical.

Creation Song also deals with the contrast of appearance and reality. The title of the video is to be taken literally by the insertion of a married stonemason and the monotonous sounds of his hammer repeatedly beating a chisel. At the same time, it is also to be understood as antagonism to the images of a spacious cemetery. The woman as a creator plays a role in the person of a dancer but also as a victim in the representation of the colourful cloths with which Yama Rahimi covered the tombstones that appear at the beginning and end of the video. The simultaneity of creation and transience, movement and stillness, as well as femininity and death, refers to the divided situation of women in Afghanistan – veiled and oppressed from outside, but with the inner constant desire to break out and move freely.

Yama Rahimi (*1992, Maidan Wardak, Afghanistan) made his bachelor's degree in film direction at the Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Kabul in 2014. His artistic work focuses on video art, conceptual photography and short films. He has already participated in more than 20 exhibitions in more than 15 countries and is currently a member of the Center for Contemporary Arts Afghanistan and the 3rd Eye Photojournalism Center. Yama Rahimi lives and works in Geisenheim, Germany.