Exhibition closes September 26
Only three weeks remain for visitors to experience the unprecedented civic photography exhibition, Being “We the People”: Afghanistan, America and the Minority Imprint at the National Constitution Center, created by students from Marefat High School in Kabul, Afghanistan, and Constitution High School in Philadelphia, PA. Featuring photographs described by the Christian Science Monitor as “thought-provoking pairings,” the exhibition debuted simultaneously at the National Constitution Center and the National Museum of Afghanistan on May 14, and will conclude its run on September 26. Admission is FREE with regular museum admission.
Equipped with digital cameras, the 21 students – many of whom had never held a camera before – learned how to conduct documentary photography and ventured into their communities to capture images of freedom, religious expression, protest, and other civic themes. Their photographs, portraying everything from weddings to parades and prayer services to political demonstrations, explore how minorities in different democracies perceive themselves as citizens and how they define citizenship. According to Reuters, the photographs offered “a fresh perspective on a country commonly depicted by the western media as war-torn and corrupt.”
Marefat High School student Zainab Haidary, 19, said, “The world remembers and knows Afghanistan by the pictures of war and agonies. It is time now that the world should get the other pictures of my country, too; a country where people are working for a great change.”
Beginning in July 2009, students from both schools shared their work and ideas online at http://beingwethepeople.shutterfly.com/. In March, the Afghan students traveled to the United States and met face-to-face with their American counterparts to curate the exhibition. Together, the students scoured through over 500 photographs in order to select pairs – one image from each country – that showcase both the striking differences and startling similarities between Afghanistan and the United States. They also wrote accompanying captions, explaining the circumstances under which the photographs were taken.
Visitors to the exhibition are invited to join in the dialogue. A total of 70 photographs are on display, but additional images are accessible at electronic touch-screens, where guests of both the National Constitution Center and the National Museum of Afghanistan can peruse photo pairings and recommend those that resonate with them most. Through internet connectivity, users in both countries can see how their recommendations compare with those made by other visitors to the Center and the National Museum of Afghanistan. For more information and to recommend photo pairings online, visit www.constitutioncenter.org/beingwe/.
Being “We the People” is part of the National Constitution Center ‘s International Engagement Project, which is dedicated to establishing international exchange and promoting constitutional principles to emerging democracies through educational and civic learning initiatives.