Emotive Photos From Afghanistan At Imperial War Museum North

By Georgi Gyton | 31 March 2008
A black and white photo of three of the sons of the Ba Deli family standing against a stone wall, looking at the camera.

The Ba Deli family. © Seamus Murphy

Exhibition preview - Fathers, Brothers, Sons at The Waterway, Imperial War Museum North, Manchester, until July 6 2008.

An emotive collection of photographs depicting how an Afghanistani family’s lives have been affected by war has gone on display at Imperial War Museum North in Manchester.

The 16 black and white images were taken by award winning photographer Seamus Murphy. They show a family from the Old City in Kabul – the Ba Delis – their home and shattered neighbourhood.

A black and white photo of the Ba Deli son with one leg, standing in the shallows of some water.

The Ba Deli family. © Seamus Murphy

The photos are accompanied by words from the photographer on his time in Kabul, what he witnessed there, and the devastating effects of war as viewed through the eyes of one ordinary family.

They span the time from Seamus’s chance meeting with the Ba Deli family in 1994, when the country was gripped by civil war through the years under the Taliban regime, to the current Coalition efforts to bring stable democracy to Afghanistan and the country’s hopes for lasting peace.

When Seamus first met the family, it was comprised of a father and four sons, as their mother had recently died through illness. One son had already been killed fighting the Mujahideen, and another had lost a leg in a rocket attack. The photos show the development of the family until 2007, when the two remaining sons were setting up families of their own.

The firsthand account, set against a background of ongoing conflict, is tragic and captivating, yet ultimately offers hope with the final visit taking place during a time of fragile peace.

This is an exhibition preview. If you’ve been to see the show, why not let us know what you think?

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