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Special Event: Can the Afghan Speak?
Thursday 25.4.2024
19.00 at Kunsthall 3,14

The exhibition Can the Afghan Speak? currently displayed at Kunsthall 3,14, showcases contemporary art from seven artists from Afghanistan. Kunsthall 3,14 has assembled a diverse group of professionals to discuss the complex realities of Afghanistan together with the Westland branch of Norwegian PEN, an organization dedicated to defend freedom of expression and supporting writers at risk. The event is co-hosted with PEN, and the discussions will take place in English.


The evening is a great opportunity to learn more about the current situation of Afghanistan. During the event, we welcome six speakers with varied backgrounds on the stage: the curator of the exhibition, Alireza Bayat, the former actor at DNS Rhine Skaanes who played a central role in re-building the National Theater in Kabul, member of the board of PEN Westland Torill Hanssen, the Afghan Icon artists reciding in Bergen Kaveh Ayreek and Fatima Ayreek, and the Norwegian journalist, author and academic Elisabeth Eide.


As part of our curated 3,14 LIVE program, the evening will commence with Toril Hanssen reading excerpts in Norwegian from the manuscript Silent City by Kaveh Ayreek. This play will be performed at Corner Theater in Bergen in mid May.


The reading will be followed by a range of presentations and talks:


Alireza Bayat will talk about agency, sovereignty, power, and necro politics, and Elisabeth Eide gives us an introduction to the current situation in Afghanistan. A conversation between Alireza Bayat and Kaveh Ayreek will take its starting point in the precarious situation faced by Afghan artists today.

The program will be continued with a panel discussion including Rhine Skaanes and Fatia Ayreek, in which they will contemplate Afghanistan’s critical realities and the multifaceted diversity of the country, often forgotten in the West. The people of Afghanistan have been marginalized by both global power dynamics and local militarized patriarchy, further complicating their ability to speak and assert their voices.


The event is free and open for all! Join us at Kunsthall 3,14, Vågsallmenningen 12, second floor.




ALIREZA BAYAT is Iranian curator renowned for his contributions to the arts and culture in Iran and beyond. Bayat has curated the exhibition Can the Afghan Speak? currently shown at Kunsthall 3,14. With a background rooted in curatorial practice, Bayat has dedicated his career to promoting artistic expression, fostering intercultural dialogue, and preserving Iran's rich cultural heritage.


KAVEH AYREEK and FATIMA AYREEK, both from Afghanistan, have been recognized as Icorn writers in the Bergen municipality since 2021. Kaveh is a versatile artist, excelling as a writer, actor, theater director, and short film producer, with his educational background rooted in Iran. Fatima specializes in puppet theater, and together, they co-founded the Mime Theatre group in Kabul back in 2013.


TORIL HANSSEN, an academic,translator and representative of Norwegian PEN (Vestland). Particular interested in promoting and facilitating Icorn artists. She has been actively engaged with local authorities, cultural institutions, and civil society organizations to raise awareness about the importance of free speech and artistic freedom.


ELISABETH EIDE is an esteemed Norwegian journalist, author, and academic, known for her extensive contributions to the fields of media, communication, and human rights. With a background rooted in journalism and academia, Elisabeth has dedicated her career to exploring pressing societal issues, advocating for freedom of expression, and promoting cross-cultural understanding especially in Afghanistan and India.


RHINE SKAANES is a Norwegian actress who initiated a long term collaboration with the National Theater and the faculty of theater science in the early 2000s in Afghanistan. Rhine has dedicated much of her career to using the performing arts as a tool for cultural exchange, community building, and empowerment.

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