Are We in the Story or is the Story in Us

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Common Ground Gallery


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Are We in the Story or is the Story in Us

October 28, 2022 – January 8, 2023

Common Ground Gallery

Art, for Hussainy, is therapy, joy and shared humanity. It is a source of solace and hope as she uses her art to bring about social change. One can follow her journey through her art— the loss of her parents at a young age, religious conflict, living in a country torn by conflict, escaping the Taliban, becoming an asylum seeker, and navigating a new language and country, all the while advocating fiercely for the importance and humanity of all people. Through her art, Hussainy speaks and encourages viewers to break down the preconceived ideas that enforce the boundaries between people and keep others’ voices silent. Hussainy’s medium is one of silent but eloquent expression, and also a call to action—to listen with our eyes—and a plea to discern, and to give voice and empowerment to those without. Hussainy’s life has held many challenges but she has turned to art to guide her through each one. Sughra Hussainy’s art speaks on behalf of women, of Muslims, of Afghanistan.

About the artist:

Sughra Hussainy’s art was on view from March 2016 to October 2017 in the Smithsonian’s Freer Sackler Galleries of Art, Washington D.C., in the exhibit Turquoise Mountain: Artists Transforming Afghanistan. She specializes in traditional Afghan styles of art: miniature paintings traditionally made to illustrate texts like poetry, prose, or scientific writing; illumination which uses geometric and floral designs painted in color and gold; and calligraphy using Arabic and Persian text written in black or gold ink. Hussainy has taught many workshops for children, families, and adults in the Baltimore D.C. region.  

Hussainy is a graduate of Turquoise Mountain Institute in Kabul, Afghanistan. As of Fall 2018, she is attending Maryland Institute College of Art. When her parents died while she was young, art became her solace. She uses her art to break down stereotypes about Afghanistan, women, and Islam, and to pay homage to her native country. “Making art is a link for me with my past – with my family and with those who went before me. But today, art must bring change.” She believes that “while the body needs food to live, the soul needs art.”

Image Credit: Sughra Hussainy, Golden Times , 2020

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