I don’t know what to say about my life. I had a very simple life like every other Afghan kid. Since I can remember, I have had a pen in my hand drawing anything on everything. I finished Lycee Esteqlal, an institute of law, and was studying Drawing and Sculpture in the school of fine arts Golam Mohammad Maymanagy in Kabul City. As a teacher in The Police Academy I was teaching “Solving crimes” in simple words “Detectives”…but law and order wasn’t for me…I left the Police Academy.
I was working for Alberuni Publishing Company (the Kabul times), as a Journalist & Editorial cartoonist. I made the first and unfortunately the only “Animated film” (Cartoon film) for kids in Afghanistan.
For the past 25 years I have had an active and creative presence in Afghan Journalism, arts and literature. After I left Afghanistan, I worked in Pakistan for MADERA, BBC and UNHCR at the same time.
In 1994 I came to Canada and I started my life in Canada from scratch. I didn’t even know a single word in English. I started working as in a restaurant, became a cook, was working as a construction worker, took my license as an electrician, I almost finished electrical engineering & many other things.
I was trying very hard to get back into artistic life, took some courses of Graphic Design and computer graphics and finally in the year 2000, I got back my “PEN”, this time a different one, a computer, Today I have a very strong knowledge of computer hardware and software in both Mac and PC systems. I have assembled all of my computers by myself. Also I manage a small publishing company of my own titled “Hozhaber Publications”; so far I have published a total of 11 Books and sent them all to Afghanistan and to the Afghan communities around the world. Since the year 2000 I organized a recording studio and a radio station “Zahmehran radio networks”. I am writing, recording, editing and broadcasting educational and informational material, spreading message of peace, love and respect to the people, nature & to the environment that surround us.
I have been expressing myself through art for many years. After experimenting with various art forms, I chose this form of art as a method of spreading my messages and sharing my feelings and concerns. I would like to encourage people to stop for a second, think and be aware of what is happing all around them. For this reason I have had a couple of art exhibitions in Canada and published three collections of my cartoons that were recognized widely among Canadians and afghan communities around the world.
The pain and suffering of people and nature around me made me who I am . In my art, I was influenced by Danish cartoonist “Herluf Bidstrup”, French cartoonist “Claude Serre” and the great Afghan cartoonist Mr. Tareq Marzban.
After more than a quarter century of creating, I sometimes ask myself: Why am I doing this?
It reminds me of a story about a big storm:
Once upon a time there was a big storm. It threw millions of small fish onto the shore. Many people gathered on the shore. Some just watched them with no emotions, some enjoyed seeing them die and some collected them for a meal. Only one person kept throwing the fish back into the water.
Somebody asked him: What are you doing? Millions of fish are dying and the waves will bring millions more… what difference are you going to make?
While throwing a fish into the water, the person replied: I hope I made a difference for this little one at least!
I believe what we are doing through art is much like that story.
If we look around us, we see that we live in very troubled times. I am fortunate here in Canada to be on a safe shore. But it does not mean that millions of other people are not suffering around me, Especially in Afghanistan. My homeland that I love and dream about every night.
Peace, nature, happiness and life itself on this small planet is very fragile and endangered. To make it strong and safe we have to put our hands together, forget our differences and think about the values that join us together as human beings. I believe that we can make a difference together. This planet deserves to be a better place to live, if not for us then for our kids and grandkids. Today I share my dreams and passions with you and I hope that you will find your own personal meaning in my art.
For everything that I accomplished in my life, I would like to thank my parents, my family, my lovely kids and especially my wife Parween who is a great artist and writer for giving me the love and the support that I always need. Without their help this would be impossible.
Last year for six months I came to Afghanistan. I was sharing my experience, professional knowledge, dreams and passions with my people. I was working for the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Reconstruction of Afghanistan (MRRD). Despite the arguments that speculated trough the media that “nothing is done in Afghanistan”, I was surprised by the effort of this ministry. I’m a dreamer that most of his dreams stay only dreams, but I was amazed to see that Mr. Ehsan Zia and the leadership of the ministry of Rural Rehabilitation a Reconstruction of Afghanistan are also are dreamers with the only difference that they accomplished most of their dreams by working hard to help people of Afghanistan stand from the ruins, build their lives from the ground up and live in a better society.
All the people of this small planet deserve to live in peace and harmony. I believe that one day the suffering of the people of Afghanistan will end. I will do everything that is in my power, through my pen, my art and my love to bring this moment closer and with your help we will make it a reality.
Best wishes to you and your families.