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Ascend Spotlight: Saeeda and Neki

Many of the girls at Ascend are multi-talented. Some are great at baking, others are great at learning different languages. Saeeda and Neki are both fantastic at drawing. We are always blown away by their incredible artwork. During quarantine, it is especially paramount that the girls at Ascend keep busy. Most girls have been able to engage in their passions, which include drawing. We asked Neki and Saeeda to share some “quarantine artwork” of theirs and tell us what their passion for drawing means to them:

NEKI

"Sometimes I paint paintings of women who suffer. This means that we women should not be in this situation and we should have the will to get out of this situation and sometimes I paint Afghan heroic women. I show that women are strong."


How long have you been doing art?

After 2015, I started art up to 2017, when I joined the Ascend team. I didn't do it as much but now [due to quarantine] I started again.


What kind of art have you done and what type of art do you like doing most?

I draw by pencil, pencil color, oil, and now I started by water color. Most of my painting pencil and pencil color is portrayed, my oil painting is portrayed and most of that is nature.


What does painting and the art you are make mean to you?

I do two kinds of painting:

1. I do it [to show] the happiness or sadness of the Afghanistan story.

2. I show the elegance of my art or the power of my art.


Have you been involved in some bigger art projects?

Yes, I [partnered with] the embassy to draw on their wall to mark the ending of the Global 16 Days against gender-based violence by UN women. I [also] work with students in schools and draw the wall of schools.

Is some of your artwork connected to your activities with Ascend?

Yeah, some of my panting show the strength of Ascend girls.


How important is art for you during quarantine?

In Afghanistan most people have a lot of problems, especially women. When women are at home a lot they get depressed, including myself. Instead, they should be active. All of us must be active. Painting can help me a lot. It keeps me busy and reduces my stress .

"This painting shows strong women in Afghanistan. Women can also achieve their dreams."

"This one is my favorite, it shows my elegant art. When I painted this, this was the first big explosion in Kabul. All of the people in Afghanistan were sad. I wanted to help my people with my art. I painted this so that my people could forget the badness and smile. To remember that life is still going on."

"In Afghanistan, most women who are at home sew and sell it. And the lady is so powerful that if they are not allowed to study, they will still make money from their own efforts. They don't need men."

SAEEDA

"Painters strive to make women aware of freedom, and to send them the message of equality. We always put our paintings on social media, and we always paint on women's issues."

How long have you been doing art?

I have been painting for five years.


What kind of art have you done and what type of art do you like the most to do?

I work more in the style of realism, that is painting naturally. Moreover, I paint the faces of women, and I always like to send a positive message in my paintings and that everyone sees my paintings as hopeful for them and enjoy watching it.


What does painting and the art you are make mean to you?

Painting is a language for me, with which I can express the words of my heart, and painting is a comfort for me, like breathing in the mountains and enjoying nature and life.


Have you been involved in some larger art projects?

Yes, I have participated in several painting competitions, and I have also had paintings in exhibitions.


Is some of your artwork connected to your activities in Ascend or do Ascend activities inspiring some of your art?

I think yes, it has connected with Ascend. Ascend strives to be strong and to make great leader of Afghan women. Most of our paintings have the same message.


How important is the art for you during quarantine?

The quarantine period has been both good and bad for me, but in any case, I am thankful to God that quarantine has become a good opportunity for me to do more painting. After the quarantine, selling it is the next opportunity.

"I love coloring eyes. This lady's blue eyes mean freedom and peace to me all over the world."

"This is my painting about Corona, which means that the whole world has this problem right now, and we all need to be aware of our health."

"One of the saddest pictures of the people of China when Corona began."

"I really like this painting, it took me a year to finish it. This is one of my most beautiful paintings. Which shows the beauty, power, and culture of an Afghan woman."

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a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization based in the United States.

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