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On the 10th of November 2014, I attended an Afghanaids charity event, which took place at Pall Mall, La Galleria.
Welcomed by the loving staff, I was asked for my coat politely and offered a glass of fine wine, Champaign or a soft drink, with smiling faces. As soon as I walked in I felt as though Afghanistan had come to the city of London.
There were many different people, from different backgrounds, roaming around the room and looking at the beautifully painted pieces. Some of the guests were admiring the paintings while others were discussing them. I was caught by surprise, as I did not expect to see so many people at one event in attendance to see and hear about the Afghan culture.
The sound of the Afghan Rabab (famous Afghan instrument) played in the background; live by an Afghan artist on stage, placed in the corner of the Gallery, while guests had a chitchat with their glass of wine in their hands. The women were dressed elegantly and the men were all wearing suits and ties, it felt like a very important and posh event, almost like a business meeting.
I was originally there for the talk, which was going to take place by the famous foreign correspondent, Christina Lamb. She spoke about her experiences during her trips to Afghanistan. A very touching speech, which reminded me of the time I was in Afghanistan. I was proud of her interest in Afghanistan. Not only hers but everyone else who had attended.
Arabella Dorman is the artist behind the amazing paintings hung on the walls of La Galleria. She is a war artist who has visited Afghanistan on numerous occasions over the past five years. She visited the country to capture accurate human faces of the conflict there in her paintings; her aim was to show both the life of Afghan civilians and of the British forces. The exhibition is titled as ‘Before the Dawn’, which refers to the new start, change and insecurity because the Afghan army has been left to fight on their own; it also highlights the fears of each day.
The event was sponsored by Mirwais Alizai, a 32-year-old Afghan entrepreneur who spoke in the event and said that he sponsored this event for the love he has for Afghanistan, and also to raise as much awareness as possible.
Here are some images I took at the event: