AFGHANISTAN. Herat. Musa Mowahid, a young Afghan artist, is a journalism senior student at Herat university who spends time painting his feelings. Known as “Picasso” among his friends, he creates portraits that astounded everyone. For some, they are more real than real.
Portraits “more real” than photographs
Mowahid portrays the pain of the Afghan people through a style called hyper-realism which blurs the border between photograph and painting.
“I remember the picture of my uncle on the wall of our house. It was 2 times taller than my height, and I wanted to have this photo for myself. There was no facility to print at that time. I tried to transmit the photo on paper. Later, I found my ability to draw on the paper,” Mowahid said, adding that he created his own strategy to capture the image. Drawing a subject which he picks himself gives him joy.
Commitment to depict reality
Mowahid emphasizes that his audience understands what is happening inside Afghanistan, but he can not work on “happiness” pieces. Living in a war-torn country, he must portray the realities. His inner feelings do not allow him to work on pieces that are not in accordance with the realities of Afghan life.
A heroic win against corona
In Afghanistan, Corona killed mostly old men. He portrays an elderly Afghan who survived coronavirus. “We lost many old men in the city but I tried to say that we have gone through many wars worse than this and corona could be a usual enemy for [we] Afghans. That is why I wanted to transfer a sense of victory on his face,” he told Transcontinental Times.
Beauty shines through suffering
Drawing is a doorway for Mowahid, a space he describes as full of beauty. “In quarantine, I actively escaped to corona isolation. There were statistics of infections, deaths. The flood of immigrants entering to Herat from Iran, explosions, and suicide attacks. Sometimes when I tried to escape from the news, I found art in that world. The world where there was only me, the sound of my brushes and pencils with a piece of music,” Mowahid said.
Mowahid’s work astounds all who see it, and he is working to change the mindset of foreigners about Afghans. Foreigners should not read just about war in Afghanistan, but also about art and our abilities for changing the world. “I believe I can change their mindset by my realistic artworks,” Mowahid shared. “Picasso” indeed.