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A Photo Journey: Afghanistan 2009-2011

Gladstne photo of Afghan firl in native dress

By Robin Loving

Afghanistan is a beautiful country full of striking people and images that you can see in Lia Gladstone’s new photographic art opening at the Shelter Theater on January 19 at 4 pm. The official opening of “A Photographic Journey: Afghanistan 2009-2011” will include two short videos made by Gladstone. A program on Afghanistan will follow at 5 pm. Photos will be on view for the month of January.

Photographic Art Opening
A Photo Journey: Afghanistan 2009-2011
Tue, Jan 19, 4pm
Shelter Theater
Vicente Guerrero 4
Colonia San Rafael
154 7524

Each of Gladstone’s large-format, dramatic photos tells a story. For example, one would think that, in a country where typical little girls dress in elaborate bright colors and dramatic style, artistic expression would be encouraged. And indeed, in spite of the dangers, there are girls and young women performing in public, often paying a harsh price. As a member of Women Playwrights International, Gladstone arranged for eight of her theater students to perform the headline event at the 2012 conference in Stockholm’s largest theater.

At the time of this performance, the girls were between 14 and 24 years old. When post-event buzz went international, Muslim mullahs in Afghan saw the performance online and harassed and threatened the girls and their families so much that they had to go into hiding. The rest of the story is that Gladstone got these girls and their families out of Afghanistan, and now they are thriving on the international arts circuit in places as distant and cosmopolitan as New York City, Canada, Berlin, and South Africa. “The good outcome is these young women have received asylum in Berlin and Stockholm and are leading the creative lives they were meant to lead,” said Gladstone. “The sad part is that Afghanistan has lost great role models for other young women.”

This is but one example of these amazing story-telling photos of a place about which we hear mostly terrible news stories.

Gladstone, who calls herself a dramatist, began her career in public radio as a reporter, news anchor, and producer.  She wrote her first play in 1993 and got her MFA after receiving a fellowship to attend the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University.  This was followed by an appointment as professor of English and drama at the American University in Afghanistan.

For more information, contact her at and see her work at


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