We are all at conflict. Whether with others or ourselves, with our own ideas, thoughts, desires, history, present, future. We are all at conflict as we try and navigate ourselves through a life we understand only through our experiences, through our confrontation both internal and external with social, political, cultural, and personal strife. My visual arts work in multi-media assemblages, sculptures, 3-D collages, mise en scene photography, and installations, are always inspired by a negotiation through these conflicts, a negotiation between worlds and the multiple experiential landscapes that shape them. My recent work in particular is based largely on the dialogue between the external, contemporary experiences of conflict and the internal – mental, spiritual, and emotional – responses to it that continue to shape the understanding of my own identity and the world I live in. Through and across the different works, one can find threads of cultural tradition (be it real, imagined, invented), identity, politics, diasporas, war, and reconstruction weaving reflections, often contradictory, of humanity; a humanity which finds itself in a post-modern world that is simultaneously globalizing and fracturing, forcing us to confront each other and ourselves in ways we have yet to learn or understand. Complementing this work are my anthropological studies (B.A., M.A.) which provide a strong grounding in the debates around conflict, cultural change, post/colonialism, third-world development, and the representation of culture; while my continuing experience working and creating in Afghanistan provides the contextual richness that leads me down the path of trying to identify and understand not ways for resolving conflict, but rather ways in which we accept conflict as a life-long experience. Creating art as an aspect of, rather than response to, conflict is ultimately an exercise in dissecting the human condition in order to expose the sometimes fragile, sometimes durable, but always shifting relationships we have with each other, with ourselves, and with the conflicts we must endure throughout our lives. In order to do this, it will be necessary to see that condition as a place where external conflicts tied to global processes and internal battles tied to our own experiences are blurring into each other, becoming confused, indistinguishable, and equally personal.
Growing up in a war, where the bombs were 12,377 kilometers or 7,691 miles (or 6,683 nautical miles though Afghanistan is land-locked so perhaps not as relevant) away. An Afghan-American suburban dream punctuated by weekend sleepovers, Saturday soccer games, fist-fights with racist children of the Confederate South, and religio-nationalist driven demonstrations chanting “Down with Brezhnev!”, “Long live Islam!”, “Down with Communism!”, and “Long Live Afghanistan!” before I even knew what that meant. It is what I was fed growing up, in between southern-fried chicken and garlic mashed potatoes, cumin-scented meat and basmati rice…
In his work, Aman often uses contemporary, post-modern ideas of conflict and globalization combined with traditional narratives rooted in culture, belonging, and identity. He collects the materials and inspiration for his work from his internal and external landscapes, including growing up Afghan in the Confederate South of the United States and spending the better part of the last decade living and working in Afghanistan.
He has exhibited his work in galleries, independent spaces, and cultural centers in New York, Los Angeles, Paris, Singapore, Cairo, Hong Kong, and Kabul.
Aman currently lives, works, and creates in Kabul, Afghanistan.
A Day in the Life of a Jihadi Gangster:
Out of the Conflict Bling installation emerged the character in these images, the Jihadi Gangster, as I continue to explore the idea of globalized gangster styles and iconography while exploring my own dual cultural heritage as an American-born Afghan with strong familial ties to politics in Afghanistan, including jihad.
Inspired by real events which led to the death and disappearance of 183 family members in Afghanistan after the Soviet invasion.
The first in a line of mobile furniture for conflict environments developed by Emeric Lhuisset and Aman Mojadidi, with support from designer Pierre-Francois Dubois.
Jihad Gangster Afghan Parliamentary Campaign:
The final culmination of the Jihadi Gangster, a faux run for Parliament in Afghanistan.
SLOGAN – “Vote for Me! I did Jihad and I’m Rich”
FACE – “Your favorite Jihadi Face Here”
Jihadi Gangster Afghan Parliamentary Campaign Street Installation:
Be sure to check out Aman’s site HERE or click on any of the photos above to see more from the series.