Art & Culture

Taliban shuts down Kamaluddin Behzad Gallery in Herat

The Taliban on Tuesday ordered the closure of the Kamaluddin Behzad Gallery in Herat province, an institution with a rich history spanning over four decades.

The abrupt decision came in response to the gallery’s initiative to conduct calligraphy classes for two young female students, according to the director of the gallery.

In a video message shared with the media, Mohammad Ibrahim Habibi, the head of the Behzad Gallery, expressed his disappointment, noting that the calligraphy classes had been seized upon as a pretext by Taliban officials responsible for enforcing morality standards to shutter the cultural center.

Habibi underscored the gallery’s significant role as “one of the most prominent arts training centers” in the country, serving as a hub for artistic expression for many years.

Jalil Ahmad Tawana, the leader of the Herat Province Calligraphers Association, corroborated the unfortunate closure of the gallery, further highlighting the impact of this decision on the local artistic community.

The Kamaluddin Behzad Gallery was initially established by the Directorate of Information and Culture under the previous government’s auspices, with a specific mission to foster art and promote its development, particularly in the realms of painting and calligraphy within Herat.

Over the years, the gallery has been a vibrant space for artistic endeavors, with calligraphy occupying a central place among the various forms of creative expression hosted within its walls.