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Rahraw Omarzad

Rahraw Omarzad, born in 1964 in Kabul, is the Director of the Center for Contemporary Art Afghanistan (CCAA). He is also a lecturer at the Faculty of Fine Arts Kabul University and Editor-in-Chief of Gahnama-e-Hunar Art Magazine.

As a student at Kabul University, Omarzad studied drawing and painting at the Faculty of Fine Arts and began a career of teaching and lecturing shortly after his graduation. Omarzad has remained close to his roots in the arts and education, working as a lecturer in both Afghanistan and Pakistan. It was in Pakistan, where he found a group of likeminded expatriate Afghans devoted to dialogue and improvement of the arts, that he conceived of the publication Gahnama-e-Hunar.

The first issue appeared in 2000 with a circulation of 1,200 copies. The magazine has proved a breakthrough publication in the Afghan arts scene. Early issues focused on painting, sculpture and calligraphy and later, at the request of readers, expanded to cover film, theatre and music.

Today, Gahnama-e-Hunar publishes discussions on new curricula and other necessary changes for Afghanistan’s art schools, alongside reports on the growth of the nation’s cultural life, the reopening of the National Gallery, the search for national art treasures that have gone missing and the restoration of Afghan cultural heritage. International institutions and organizations now support the magazine.

In addition to his work as an editor, Omarzad continues to create his own video art and photography. Focused on themes of evolution, change and renewal in Afghanistan, his work has been heavily influenced by local street culture and urban exchanges in his native Kabul.