In Defiance of History: Afghanistan 1973 - 2003
Photographs by Luke Powell
display August 5 - September 18, 2007
Opening reception and gallery talk with Marjorie Speed Powell
Sunday, August 5, 3:00 - 5:00 p.m.
Luke Powell captures the beauty and dignity of Afghanistan from
the cities in the news to remote villages reachable only on horseback.
He photographed the country extensively throughout the 1970s as
a tourist and again from 2000 – 2003 in the employ of the
United Nations to document minefields, mine victims, and demining
efforts. Powell’s images of Afghanistan have been widely
exhibited, including shows at the Smithsonian’s Sackler
Gallery, the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, Manesh Hall in Moscow,
and the Fotographie Forum in Frankfurt. Take advantage of this
special opportunity to view the images in your own backyard.
Luke Powell was born and raised in North Carolina. He holds a
BA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a
Master of the Arts of Religion degree from Yale University. When
he began photographing Afghanistan, Powell was an ordained minister
in the North Carolina Annual Conference of the Methodist Church.
He first went abroad to work on archaeological excavations in
Israel with a team from the UNC-Chapel Hill Department of Religion.
After his third season on the digs, Powell attempted an overland
journey from Israel to India. His travel arrangements were thwarted
by the war between Pakistan and India. Along with fleeing refugees,
Powell rode to safety in Afghanistan by freight car. Stranded
in Kabul by the severe winter snows, Powell waited for the roads
west to clear and “discovered that this was the jewel of
Central Asia, an extraordinary window on the ancient world. There
I saw villages remarkably similar to ones we had excavated from
thousands of years ago. I wanted to make photographs in Afghanistan
so that Americans, charmed by the beauty of the place, would begin
to open their hearts to the world of Islam, which they would soon
need to understand.”