In 2009, the American Friends Service Committee put out a nationwide call to artists through the Chicago Public Art Group and the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, seeking contributions for a traveling memorial to Afghan civilians who have died in the war.  The response exceeded our expectations. Over the next few months, more than 40 muralists donated their talents, designing and painting individual murals on sheets of acrylic cloth. We thank them for their generosity and commitment to peace.

The war in Afghanistan is now the longest in U.S. history, yet for many of us it has been rendered largely invisible. Windows and Mirrors: Reflections on the War in Afghanistan is an opening and an invitation to reflect upon the impact of this war on a civilian population caught in the crossfire.
The forty-five unique panels created by international artists and US students help us imagine the experience of Afghan civilians - from death and destruction to hopes for peace. Drawings by Afghan students in Kabul – collected in June 2010 – provide an up close look at life in a war zone. At over 900 square feet, this mural is not a single painting, but an oversized statement on the human cost of war. It is not the voice of one person, but that of an engaged artistic community. Their collective voice comes through with power and volume, speaking to us on both intellectual and emotional levels.  Because of its high demand, the mural has also inspired a community exhibit with a selection of 25 installations from the original. Although the murals are smaller in size, it remains large in scope--and its impact striking. The community exhibit, along with the Windows and Mirrors traveling exhibit, makes the everyday realities of Afghan civilians accessible to the American citizen.

We are present in every shot fired, every missile launched, and every bomb dropped. But this is not our only option. We also can be present in acts of diplomacy and reconciliation, community reconstruction and peaceful partnership. The choice is ours.

 If you would like to help bring either the original or community exhibit to your community, please contact exhibit@afsc.org

visitors discuss murals

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