Peoples of Afghanistan


Peoples of Afghanistan, refers to an installation created earlier this year.  Projected into a black room was the high resolution thermal imagery of bombing footage anonymously published on the internet in 2002 of an American AC-130 Specter Gunship attack. A slide projector overlayed onto this footage the photographs of Afghan men compiled during a 1960s Russian anthropological survey by G.F. Debets. This anthropometric survey of Afghanistan was then used as the basis of the book, Physical Anthropology of Afghanistan 1-11,  which was part of a Russian translation series published by Harvard’s Peabody Museum in 1970. American anthropologist, Henry Field wrote the forward and credits himself as having suggested the survey to Debits. Physical Anthropology of Afghanistan is a collection of data relating to hair color, skin color, size of skull and other body- based measurements.



"Field Work: An Artist's Reflection Among Her Time With the Natives of Vienna," Illustrated with numerous watercolors and handwritten.


The book is modeled after a 19th C European travel diary and served as a record of my artist in residence at the Weltmuseum Wien in 2016. It includes handwritten impressions and encounters with the museum and its staff, including quotes and references to past anti-colonial voices such as Aimé Césaire and contemporary musical lyrics on black and brown migration by Asian Dub Foundation.


The ABC's of Torture and State Violence


The ABC’s of Torture and State Violence are a commissioned set of drawings about state violence and torture made on the pages of an English translation of Carl von Ossietzky’s collected writings, titled "The Stolen Republic, " 1971. After winning the Nobel Prize, hospitalized and still under surveillance by the National Socialists, Ossietzky attempted to share his experience of being tortured through a coded request to journalists. He expressed an interest in the subject of torture and asked if anyone could locate a book for him on medieval torture. I made this set of drawings as my response to his request. The drawings are a way to acknowledge the severe physical punishment and violence born by Ossietzky at the hands of a repressive state threatened by the power of his words and ideas.

© 2017 by Rajkamal Kahlon