Afghan Traditional Arts Training School - Ghulam Mohammad Maimanagi


Street address: Off Flower Street, Sharh e Nau, Kabul, Kabul Province, Afghanistan
Telephone: 93 (0) 70 290313 (mobile)
Proprietor: Office of the Deputy Minister, Arts, Ministry of Culture and Youth Affairs
Contact: Mohammad Hashem Shariq Director
Telephone: 93 (0) 70 290313 (mobile)
The Afghan Traditional Arts Training School Ghulam Mohammad Maimanagi traces its origins to an art school which was opened in Kabul in the 1930s by Ghulam Muhammad Musawwer Maimanagi to introduce Afghans to western art styles and serve as an agency to preserve the high quality of Afghan crafts. The work of this institution laid the groundwork for the establishment of the Fine Arts College in 1955 under the directorship of Abdul Ghafur Breshna (1907-1974), a famous musician, painter and playwright and the composer of the Afghan National Anthem. The Fine Arts College was later named after Ghulam Mohammad Maimanagi in honour of the latter’s efforts to promote arts and culture. The School teaches miniature painting, calligraphy, woodworking, painting, sculpture, embroidery and jewelrymaking. Anyone can study art with an Afghan teacher and children as young as seven learn here three days a week for two hours a day. They study drawing, watercolour painting and oil painting over a period of three years. Maimanagi awards a certificate to successful students but unfortunately there are no classes in art history or theory and many talented art students are unable to pass the concours exams to continue studying Fine Arts at the University. Students who supply their own material are allowed to sell their work in the small gallery. The classes copy postcards or photos or draw from life. There is a small studio for painters and an exhibition space with oil paintings, watercolours, Afghan miniature paintings, needlework and sculpture. The School continued to teach calligraphy and landscape painting during the time of the Taliban but their work could not include depiction of living beings; animals or people. Its staff taught ‘carefully’ and in secret to ensure that the Taliban remained uninterested. Had their life classes been found out they would be have punished. They now have 350 students but little space, and in fact their building must soon be returned to its overseas owner. There is currently not enough space for classes or exhibitions and there is an urgent need for capital to develop the school.