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Photo Museum Ireland

11 Aug 2022

Exhibition in the Photo Museum Ireland 'Keeping home and hope alive'

Barialai Khoshhal arrived in Ireland last October as a Programme Refugee, along with other Afghans, following the fall of Kabul to the Taliban in August 2021. ‘Keeping Home and Hope Alive’ is a pop-up exhibition that charts the progress of the Afghans here, as they set out to rebuild their lives while holding onto their Afghan culture and identity. Marking Khoshhal’s Artist Residency at Photo Museum Ireland, the exhibition introduces the artist’s long term project which will explore how the two cultures are melding and how the group is adapting to new ways and integrating into Irish life.

“Leaving my home in Afghanistan was gut wrenching. I left family, friends, a successful career, and my sense of being. I miss my home very much but want to make a new home here with all that entails.”, Khoshhal reveals.

“I have received the warmest of welcomes in Ireland from my host community and the creative community. This has enabled me to start a new life, to integrate into Ireland and start again. My photographic work for this exhibit started with finding comfort and solidarity with my fellow Afghans and sharing our stories and culture. It has expanded out as people settle here and learned new ways to blend both cultures and our lived experience, as we carve out a new life in Ireland.”

“In many ways, it has brought me great happiness that I did not expect. It is an emotional journey and has given me learnings about other Afghans and our home, through the perspective of a new sense of place and how we create a new community here - of strangers who have become family. It has moved from fear and sadness to exploring new joys and ways of being. For this I am very grateful and want to express this through my work”.

Photo Museum Ireland have worked closely with Barialai to produce and curate this debut exhibition. We would like to extend our thanks to him, to the participants in the project, to Brendan Maher, curator, and to Jeanne McDonagh of The Open Doors Initiative. Thanks also to the Arts Council of Ireland and to Diageo Ireland for their support.

‘Keeping Home and Hope Alive’ is on show in the Artist’s Project Space at Photo Museum Ireland until 3rd September 2022

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