Afghan ‘ArtLords’ take on politicians, militias and warlords in Kabul
In this Thursday, Aug. 20, 2015 photo, independent Afghan artists paint on a barrier wall which blocks a main gate of the presidential palace in Kabul, Afghanistan. (File photo)
Slowly, slowly the portrait of a girl takes shape on the crumbling, mud brick wall, the round, smiling face of a young girl wearing a head scarf in shades of red, green and white.
The girl's name is Mursal and she's 12 years old.
A couple of years ago she survived a serious attack on NATO's headquarters in Kabul. Back then she was a street-child who made money by selling bracelets and scarves to the foreigners who came and went at NATO.
Today she's having her portrait done on the side of a building by the "ArtLords," who have pioneered political street art in Afghanistan.
The painting of her is directed at all the people - the Taliban, warlords and militias - who continue to wage war in the country with no thought for the lives lost. "Look here," the portrait is meant to say to say, "You're killing, injuring and traumatizing our children, our country's future."
The number of children killed and injured in the conflict in Afghanistan has gone up by 15 per cent in the past year, according to the United Nations.
"(There are) so many victims, all the time, everywhere - you get used to it so quickly," says Omaid Sharifi, a founder of the ArtLords. "But I don't want to get used to it."
Dressed in paint-flecked jeans and a blue T-shirt, he says his goal is to "retrieve the victims of war and injustice in Afghanistan from the statistics." He wants to give names and faces to the numbers.
Seven children were killed in the 2012 explosion that Mural survived - two of them were her sisters, 17-year-old Khurshid and Parwana, aged 13.
Their names might already have been forgotten, but now they are painted in a list next to Mursal's portrait.
Until recently, Sharifi was the manager of a large civil society programme. He resigned to dedicate himself full-time to the project.
He founded ArtLords in mid-2014 with some friends. "At the time we just did it to prettify all the ugly blast walls."
The bitter US-led war against the Taliban has turned Kabul into a fortress.
Everywhere you look in the city centre there is barbed wire, huge mesh containers called hescos filled with sand to stop bullets, and the infamous 3-metre-high blast walls, used to stop car bombs and which have become the ArtLords' favourite canvas.
The artists have now left around 50 of their huge portraits around the Afghan capital, most in places where politicians, warlords and the military can see them every day.
Their messages have become more political, and more critical, with time.
"We want to beautify the city, but also spark discussions and make people think," says Sharifi. One portrait that went up in November is a protest against child marriage.
It shows a girl with a book in her hand and the line, "This is the time for my education, not my marriage."
Near to the place where in March 2015 a mob lynched a young woman, there's a picture of a group of men with the words, "A brave man respects women."
An older series of paintings focuses on the corruption that plagues the country.
"I see you," is written under large pairs of eyes that look out onto the gates of government buildings.
It was for this campaign that the ArtLords were awarded an international prize at a ceremony in Vienna in December, complete with a laudatory speech by then UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon.
Lots of organizations now want to work with the ArtLords, including the UN, international charities and embassies.
But their goal isn't the world, it's Afghanistan - next stop, the city of Kandahar.