Hangama Amiri, Fulbright grant winner, headed to Yale University

A young Halifax artist who has already won acclaim for her work from Lunenburg to London, will spend the next year studying at Yale University in Connecticut thanks to a Fulbright Canada grant.

Hangama Amiri is an Afghan-Canadian who settled in Nova Scotia in 2005

Artist Hangama Amiri has won a Fulbright Canada grant. (Supplied by Krista Tannahill)

A young Halifax artist who has already won acclaim for her work from Lunenburg to London, will spend the next year studying at Yale University in Connecticut thanks to a Fulbright Canada grant.

Hangama Amiri is an Afghan-Canadian who settled in Nova Scotia in 2005.

Born in Kabul, she and her family escaped the Taliban when she was six-years-old, but her life experience had already made an impression on her and would be expressed through her artwork.

'Our rights were taken'

Her first group art show was at Halifax West High School only five years after coming to Canada. Already her work addressed issues of gender equality, sexual oppression and culture.

"As an artist I have always been interested in the subject of women and their bodies and art and politics and religion," she told CBC's Mainstreet.

Amiri went on to study fine art at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and returned to Afghanistan for the first time in 15 years.

"As a young child, when I left Afghanistan, during the Taliban, our rights were taken, especially women were banned from the education system," Amiri said.

"I'm especially talking about my mom's experience and how she was banned from those basic rights."   

Her graduation paintings, "The Wind-Up Dolls of Kabul" ended up being shown at a London gallery during the 2013 Passion for Freedom Festival.

'I feel very honoured'

The next year of study at Yale will see Amiri continue to explore the role of women in Afghan society.

"On topics basically of women's representation of bodies and gender and politics and religion," Amiri said.

The work is "really focusing on the countries of Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, even China and south Asia and India."

The Fulbright grant will allow her to complete her project called "Women, War and Afghan Heroines."

The Fulbright program operates in 155 countries and is one of the world's most prestigious academic awards.

"I feel very honoured to have such a scholarship from Canada," she said.

After her year of study, Amiri plans to create a body of work to show in galleries worldwide.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.