PULLMAN, Wash. — A series of photographs by Washington State University professor Rafi Samizay on Afghanistan and its architecture will be on display from March 9 through April 11 at the WSU Museum of Art.
Homes constructed from artillery shells. Military tanks used as foundations for bridges. Flower pots that were once parts of missiles. In Afghanistan, a generation of war has resulted in a strange new architecture, built from the implements of destruction.
A native of Afghanistan, Samizay returned to his homeland last fall after a 22-year absence to work on reconstruction efforts.
“To see people living and continuing to build out of things like artillery shells and tanks shows that even in the midst of 30 years of war, there’s hope,’’ says Robert Barnstone, assistant professor in the WSU School of Architecture and Construction Management. He is serving as co-curator for the exhibit with Roger Rowley, curator and collections manager at the WSU Museum of Art.
Paired with photos from recent trips will be photographs from Samizay’s years as professor at Kabul University in the 1970s. He is working with Kabul University to develop a master plan for the university and with the government to design a prototype courthouse for the country.
Samizay fled Kabul in 1981 during the Soviet occupation, shortly after being arrested. He had been the director of the university’s architecture school, specializing in indigenous architecture and historic preservation. He is the author of a 1980 book on the traditional architecture of Afghanistan, and prior to the Soviet occupation and civil war in Afghanistan, he conducted a survey and analysis of different neighborhoods of Kabul. He has been at WSU since 1984 and served as the School of Architecture’s director for nine years.
Samizay will return briefly from Afghanistan to give a lecture in conjunction with the event but remains busy with rebuilding projects.
“He has a lot of guts to be in Afghanistan right now,’’ Barnstone said.
The museum, located in the Fine Arts Center across from Martin Stadium on Wilson Road, is open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Thursday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m.
In conjunction with the exhibit, several lectures will be held in the Fine Arts Auditorium. Samizay will give a March 9 lecture at 7 p.m., Andrew Appleton, associate professor of political science, will speak March 23 at 7 p.m. on “Nation Building’’ and Bashir Kazimee, architecture professor and a native of Afghanistan, will speak April 6 at 7 p.m. on “Afghan Architecture.’’