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Sunday, October 17, 2021

‘Skate Girls of Kabul’ to make Middle East debut in Qatar

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All photos Copyright © Jessica Fulford-Dobson

A portrait exhibition about Afghan girls who have taken up skateboarding will make its regional premiere in Qatar this week.

The Skate Girls of Kabul series was taken by award-winning photographer Jessica Fulford-Dobson in 2013.

It debuts at the QM Gallery (Building 10) in Katara Cultural Village on Thursday, July 20.

The exhibition is based on the story of Skateistan, a local charity that set up skate parks for kids in Afghanistan. There, it is taboo for girls to ride bikes, but not necessarily skateboards.

Dobson, who released a book of the photos in 2015, writes in her forward:

“It’s hard not to think of Afghan girls skateboarding as a remarkable and quirky clash of cultures. But when you see these girls in their beautiful, bright, flowing clothes tearing around the skate park, often yelping and shrieking with laughter, your preconceptions drop away.

You realize that however unusual it may seem, they’re doing what comes naturally to them. As with girls anywhere in the world, once you give them the chance to do something they love, each one begins to discover her own personality, her sense of style and how to express it.”

Qatar skate ramp

The exhibition has also been seen in London and New York, winning awards both times. It is now coming to the Middle East for the first time.

Skate Girls of Kabul series. Credit: Copyright © Jessica Fulford-Dobson

As a nod to the series, Qatar Museums announced that it will open a skate ramp to the public for the duration of the exhibition, which runs from July 20 to Oct. 21.

In a statement, QM added:

“The striking images bring to life the hopeful spirit of these young girls that show a new perspective and dimension to skateboarding culture — one that shows strength in the face of adversity.”

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