Afghan-American artist Mariam Ghani talks about US-based and US-operated prisons, torture, the war on terror, Ferguson and the overlap of the military and prison industrial complexes. The daughter of Afghan president Ashraf Ghani further talks about slave labor in the Gulf and the work her and other artists re doing to do their part in ending their complicity. In this separate video, she talks about her short-film on/in Ferguson, her role as the first daughter of Afghanistan, (Afghan) womanhood and many more things. She’s great. Some of her work: 

Her short film The City and The City 
Her keynote conversation with her father, Ashraf Ghani at the 2015 Creativetime Summit
Her book, Afghanistan: A Lexicon
mariam ghani
I never think of myself as a fully entrenched insider when I'm making my work. I make my work from the borderline position—the perpetual diasporic position—as someone from the inside and outside at the same time. It's a good place for an artist to work from, where you realize both how much you know and don't know.

“I’ve always been really interested in literal and metaphorical border zones, places where different things meet and overlap and intersect each other,”


The second segment of this week’s Modern Art Notes Podcast features artist Mariam Ghani. 

The Saint Louis Art Museum is now showing Ghani in one of their ‘Currents’ shows, one in a series of solo exhibitions given to mid-career artists. “Currents 110: Mariam Ghani,” on view through July 12, features several Ghanis, including the 2014 video Like Water from a Stone and a new piece Ghani made while in residence at Washington University in St. Louis. Titled The City and the City, it uses China Mieville’s sci-fi, detective-noir novel, also titled “The City and the City,” as a way of examining unnamed but plainly hinted at fractures and segregations within a modern-day urban environment. The video runs about 30 minutes; an extended excerpt can be viewed above. 

For more from Ghani, see her website.

How to listen to Ghani on this week’s MAN Podcast: Listen on SoundCloud, or subscribe to The MAN Podcast (for free) at:

Working across video, performance and photography, Mariam Ghani deals with issues of memory, history, language, loss and reconstruction, often in the Middle East. Her project, What We Left Unfinished, is an ambitious effort to reconstruct the truth of how Afghanistan existed and acted during the years of Afghani Communism (1978-1991). 

Mariam will study five films that were never edited or screened during this time–because of the nature of the Afghani state–and reconnect the original filmmakers with their unfinished works to produce a film about filmmaking that plays on the gaps between the world on-screen and the lived histories around the films.

Click here to learn more about What We Left Unfinished