Capturing the women of Afghanistan.

Fatimah Hossaini, an Afghan photographer and activist, employs her lens to capture the often overlooked allure of Afghan women, spanning across the landscapes of Iran, Afghanistan, and France. Born to Afghan parents, Fatimah Hossaini had to flee her country and seek refuge in Iran, where she pursued her passion for painting and photography. Despite the risks, she returned to Afghanistan in 2018 to teach art at Kabul University and capture street portraits of Afghan women to reveal a different side of her country.

Having experienced exile on two occasions, she steadfastly champions the cause of showcasing the resolute beauty of Afghan women, ceaselessly striving to illuminate their strength and resilience.

In 2021, the artist arrived in France, where she continues to actively support refugees and unveil the beauty of Afghan women through her work. In September 2022, some of her photos were exhibited at “Multiples” exhibition by The Caring Gallery in Paris, and a few of them were duplicated as NFTs in partnership with DANAE.IO, a french digital art platform which explores new forms of expression in contemporary art. For KHAMSA, this inspiring artist agreed to tell us more about her first experience with digital art and NFT use.

Hello Fatimah, tell us more about yourself.

“I am Fatimah Hossaini, Afghan-Tehran born artist, photographer, curator and founder of Mastooraat art organization. I studied photography at Tehran university
and I was a lecturer at Kabul university, I have been working with many galleries and museums around the world through my photo projects from Kabul and Afghan women in Afghanistan, but I left Kabul after the fall of the capital city Kabul on August 21, 2021 and now I am working in exile and living in Paris.”

Can you tell us about your work?

My works are mostly about women’s lives and highlight resilience and femininity through their portraits. I also worked on various documentary photo projects but the main subject of my artistic project has always been women.

For the first time of your career, in 2021, you tried new digital tools to
create NFT works in collaboration with DANAE.IO. How did you come up
with the idea?

This collaboration came across my works with The Caring Gallery in Paris, it was quite a different experience to exhibit my works in completely another world.

What did you learn from this experience?

I think the connection of photographers on NFT opens up a new avenue for creativity and exploration. The concept of NFTs allows photographers to tokenize their digital works and sell them as unique, verifiable, and ownable assets on blockchain platforms. This innovative approach to photography can spark new ideas and opportunities in several ways. For me, Community Building and embracing Blockchain Technology were a great experience.

Can you tell us a little bit more about this artwork, who is this lady?

This photo from the pearl in the oyster photo series, which is a part of Beauty Amid War, is my sister who is a musician in a crowded street in Kabul, Afghanistan. For me that street was a symbol of the patriarchal society of Afghanistan but also its hidden beauty with many birds and markets. I captured Suri’s portrait with her guitar in the middle of the street.

What is the difference between the classic photo, and the NFT version ?

I think the difference lies in their nature, ownership, and how they are presented and traded. Classic photos are typically displayed physically in galleries, exhibitions, or homes, while NFT photos are primarily showcased digitally on NFT platforms, websites, or through virtual galleries. NFT photos can be bought, sold, and traded on various NFT marketplaces, often using cryptocurrencies as a form of payment and many more differences.

Can you tell us more about the title of this NFT collection: “Beauty Amid
War” ?

The beauty amid war photo project is a series that I started in 2015 from Tehran and the main part of it was captured in Afghanistan and it has been finished in exile in France. The concept was to capture the hidden beauty of the women of Afghanistan which is always covered by the war news and shows their beauty, femininity, hope and resilience.

Any new project on the pipeline?

My new project is also about women but far from my home Afghanistan. It started from central Asia and it will end up to north Africa. The main subject is of course women but from another perspective to their lives.

What message would you like to share with KHAMSA readers?

“May all the women of the world and women of Afghanistan stand tall.”

Exclusive interview by Margot Derisbourg for KHAMSA.