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Rescuing an Afghan Artist and Family

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Abdul (last name redacted) is an internationally recognized fine arts painter and art instructor. He is best known for his sensitive portraits and landscapes. In 2018, at the age of 30, Abdul was recognized by the (then) Afghanistan government as one of the nation's leading artists. His art has been displayed and sold in multiple international exhibits. For that recognition, Abdul is now paying a tremendous price.

A child prodigy, Abdul began formally painting at age nine. By fifteen, he was teaching students in his father's studio. In 2010, Abdul and his father were invited to move their gallery and studio into a newly renovated historic building along the famous Silk Road that passes through western Afghanistan. The move was a great success. Over nearly 17 years, Abdul taught hundreds of male and female students.

The Taliban prohibits the art of 'all living things' and bans girls from school education after their early teens. In anticipation of what was to come, the gallery and studio closed in mid-summer, 2021, as the Taliban regained control. That's when the chaos began.

In early September 2021, Abdul was informed the Taliban was in his neighborhood seeking his whereabouts. Knowing the history of other artists who had been beaten, jailed or killed by the Taliban**, Abdul, his wife and their three children abandoned their home overnight and went into hiding. Nearly two years later, as Afghanistan's economy flounders, the family remains in hiding as a team of volunteers works to find the family a new home. The process has been frustrating.

Initially, the team secured Abdul a teaching position in Washington State for the 2022-23 school year. An artist work visa application was approved by the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services in Washington D.C. Following a required consulate interview at the US Embassy in Pakistan, Abdul was surprisingly denied final approval. The consulate officials presumed Abdul would arrive in the U.S. and file for asylum due to the previous threats to his life. Right or wrong, Abdul was forced back to Afghanistan.

Multiple humanitarian organizations are now working to get threatened artists and performers out of Afghanistan and into Western nations. In the meantime, we continue to provide living expenses for Abdul and his family and are building a reserve to cover the visa, travel and settlement expenses for the family once they can relocate. Your support will be of great help.

As verified by many highly qualified U.S. art critics and professionals, Abdul is a painter with exceptional oils and watercolor talent. You can view samples of his work below.

Thank you very much for your help.

**One example of what the art community faces in Afghanistan from the Taliban, here's a news article.

Updated 05/02/2023

 Old Man Playing a Rabab

Crying Afghan Mother

Kuchi Girl

Portrait using Brush and Pallet Knife

Bazkachi Horsemen (Afghan version of Polo)

Mount Rainier from Gig Harbor, Washington

Flower Shop on a Quiet Street

Weekend Marketplace

Dusk walk in the rain


  • Anonymous
    • $550 
    • 6 mos
  • Robert Warfield
    • $200 
    • 8 mos
  • Bradford Hanson
    • $750 
    • 8 mos
  • Anonymous
    • $100 
    • 8 mos
  • Kathie Moritis
    • $50 
    • 8 mos

Organizer and beneficiary

Carl Highland
Ellensburg, WA
Timothy Ham

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