Afghanistan’s 6th C. Bamiyan valley Buddha, before (left) and after (right) its destruction in March 2001. (images via Wikipedia: before & after) (click to enlarge)

While it became a worldwide symbol of the cruel Taliban regime and its policy of intolerance, the destroyed colossal Buddha of Afghanistan’s Bamiyan valley has inspired a small exhibition which opened last Saturday at Toronto’s Royal Ontario Museum.

Canada’s Globe & Mail newspaper mentions that two artists, Jayce Salloum and Khadim Ali, visited the site in 2008 and returned with “a collage of photographs, paintings and video installations to form an exhibition titled Bamiyan (the heart that has no love/pain/generosity is not a heart).”

According to the show’s curator, Haema Sivanesan:

… [the exhibition] represents an important artistic collaboration examining the impact of a particular instance of ‘cultural terrorism’ in the contemporary context of war. The artists go beyond the front line of the conflict in Afghanistan to explore the lived experiences of the Hazara community, a persecuted ethnic minority who predominate in the province of Bamiyan. The installation takes the form of a personal archive, juxtaposing miniature paintings and photographs alongside ambient and documentary video. The installation unsettles the critical contexts and art-historical categories of each artist’s work to engage a timely cross-cultural dialogue.

There are some photos of the work here and the exhibition continues until May 2, 2010.

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Hrag Vartanian

Hrag Vartanian is editor-in-chief and co-founder of Hyperallergic. You can follow him at @hragv.