Rada Akbar

Artist & Curator

Founder, Abarzanan

As a woman, activist, and artist, Akbar always knew that being silent in the face of oppression is not something she is capable of, and she has always used art as a medium to speak up against misogyny and oppression. As an artist, she uses a mixture of wearable monuments, performance, painting, photography, curation, and installation. 
She was born and raised in Afghanistan. Akbar started her career in visual arts to express and help explain the realities around her. Akbar’s artwork and photographic work have been displayed in numerous exhibitions nationally and internationally. She won an honorable mention in UNICEF photo of the year in 2015. 

There seems to be a global misunderstanding that Afghan women are victims and need saving, or that we are not capable of defining our priorities. To change this narrative, I initiated the art project Abarzanan, which means ‘Superwomen’ to pay homage to Afghan women’s strength and resilience.

Through the project, Abarzanan she selects inspiring women, and in collaboration with Afghan and international artists, she creates wearable monumentspaintings, and installations to honor each woman’s contribution to Afghan history. Each piece carries an individual story of Afghan heritage, traditional and modern artistry, and women’s empowerment. These exhibitions tell the stories of tens of Afghan girls and display that Afghan women have infinite potential if recognized internationally and given societal opportunities of such. Akbar’s recent focus on women and costumes honors a realm of creative expression that is open to women, extending it into wearable art. Her exhibitions have provoked the conversation on women’s rights in Afghanistan and been visited by thousands of people and covered by national and global media.