Rozina Sherzad, 18, is an artist who lives in Kandahar City. She comes from an artistic family where six sisters are skilled in painting, calligraphy, illuminated manuscripts, and miniature art. She herself has been working in “Illuminated manuscripts and miniature art” for about two years now.
Illuminated manuscripts and miniature art can primarily be considered as a collection of beautiful and colored patterns drawn on the objects for aesthetic reasons. It has a deep foundation in Islamic and Persian civilization, and its signs can be found all over Afghanistan from historical places, tombstones and mosques to books, paintings and clay jars.
“At first, one of my sisters, Samina, started painting, and then other sisters became interested to become an artist too. I chose illuminated manuscripts and miniature art because I could connect with it historically and found it genuinely beautiful. “
In present time Kandahar, however, this art is generally under-appreciated. On the other hand, women were not conventionally engaged in this art until a few years ago. Rozina and her sister have been actively promoting this art ever since.
“We were the first ever sisters to turn to this art. We have also motivated others, especially girls. For instance, sometimes I used to take some of my work in school to inspire other girls too. So far, more than ten of my classmates have turned to this art. Currently, I have around fifteen female students.”
She attended a national handicraft exhibition held in the presidential palace in 2017, where some of her works were appreciated by pioneer artists for the first time. But what she is striving to achieve is beyond mere art. She has also sold a few works, including her works on clay jars and paintings and earned money from it. “I believe women can help their own financial independence by using this art as a profession too.”
Rozina wants to get into Law school next year, but she will never give up on her dreams as an artist.
“I want to contribute more to illuminated manuscripts and miniature art. My first step is to set up an exhibition in Kandahar in the coming months to showcase the work of my students not only to encourage them and promote this art, but also to connect them with potential local and international buyers and investors. These networks will pave the way for us to build a professional career on our achievements. I have also envisioned to expand this exhibition outside of Kandahar at national and international levels in the future.”
“My overall vision is to see our hobby turned into an income-making industry for women of Kandahar through which they could be economically empowered and enjoy better wellbeing.”