Mariam & Ashraf Ghani

Afghanistan: A Lexicon

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Mariam & Ashraf Ghani
Afghanistan: A Lexicon

By Mariam Ghani, Ashraf Ghani

Series: dOCUMENTA (13): 100 Notizen - 100 Gedanken


2011. 48 pp., 71 ills.


17.60 x 25.30 cm

ISBN 978-3-7757-2878-2

In the form of a lexicon, artist Mariam Ghani describes, together with her father, the renowned anthropologist and political scientist Ashraf Ghani, the cycle of repeated collapse and recovery that Afghanistan has undergone over the course of the twentieth century. The lexicon comprises seventy-one mostly illustrated terms that include central figures and places, words that carry a specific (political) meaning in the Afghan context, and entries on recurring events and defining themes. The notebook’s point of departure is a detailed reflection on the reign of King Amanullah Khan (1919–29), whose successes and failures yielded a model for reformers who succeeded him. These thoughts are followed by a series of terms related to, among other things, Dar ul-Aman Palace, now a ruin, which was part of Amanullah’s design for a “new city,” and which characterized—as a space of exception, a center of conflict, a prototype for future plans, and a symbol of past failures—twentieth-century Afghan planning policy.

Mariam Ghani (*1978) is an artist based in New York and Kabul. Ashraf Ghani (*1949), author of Fixing Failed States (in English) and A Window to a Just Order (in Dari and Pashtu), lives in Kabul.

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The documenta (Kassel, Germany) is regarded as the world´s most important exhibition of contemporary art today. Ever since the first show in 1955, the documenta has made considerable contributions to the history of art.

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