More than just a presentation of artefacts and images of a country, SEM's Afghanistan: Slovene Views is a superbly curated ethnographic exhibition that not only shows the rich cultural heritage of one the most ancient and misunderstood corners of the world, but also manages to draw connections to Slovenia in both amusing and thought-provoking ways. Originally conceived all the way back in 2010 by the museum's curator for Asia, Australia and Oceania, Ralf Čeplak Mencin, the concept underwent several years of development and refinement before finally opening to the public in May 2017.
The exhibition is arranged by chapter, with much of ethnographical pieces coming courtesy of the Asia and Pacific Museum in Warsaw, while the entire space is tied together visually with some powerful large-format works of many talented and award-winning Slovene photographers, including Arne Hodalič, Manca Juvan and Borut Kranjc, while the exhibition's central image is a portrait of an Afghan girl (an homage to Steve McCurry's iconic National Geographic cover) by Mare Lakovič. A soundtrack, or more technically a soundscape or sonorous installation, was also specially created for the exhibition by noted sound artist Hanna Preuss, which greatly enhances the overall experience.
The latter chapters are perhaps the most interesting, as they present the marginal yet diverse connections between Slovenia and Afghanistan, which range from an escaped WWI prisoner of war making the trek home and adventurous backpackers and alpinists following the so-called Hippie Trail in the 60s and 70s (included among whom was a 19-year-old Mr Čeplak Mencin) to the involvement of the Slovene military after 9/11, the European migrant crisis of 2015 and the ongoing work of several NGOs. An important and moving exhibition that we highly recommend visiting before it closes on 30 March!
Open until 30 March. Admission €4.50 adults, €2.50 students/children.
Show on map
Open 10:00 - 18:00. Closed Mon.