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Decatur Musician, Local Artist Hold Benefit for Afghan Women

Decatur resident and recording artist Michelle Malone will make a musical contribution Friday to an art exhibit titled “Thinly Veiled Misogyny.” All proceeds from the event will go to The Revolutionary Association of Women of Afghanistan (RAWA), a non-profit organization founded in 1977.

Contributions will help Afghani women get food, shelter and medical supplies. Diane Hause, an Atlanta artists, began work on the exhibit of 36 paintings, collages, photographs and sculpture in early 1999 to dramatize the plight of Afghanistan women under the Taliban regime.

“I had a dream which inspired a painting” said Ms. Hause. “I saw four women in black veils.” She put brush to canvas the moment she woke up and finished the work in one morning. The painting, “Freedom Flight” was the genesis of her involvement with RAWA. “I started researching veils and read about customs toward women,” Ms. Hause said.

“I contacted the RAWA Web site after reading about them in Amnesty International.” Ms. Hause said the exhibit was important to raise awareness of the violence and abuse being harbored in Afghanistan, comparing it to Nazi Germany. Until Sept. 11, Americans did not know women were disappearing, she said. “Women were being buried in the sand up to their waists and stoned to death,” said Ms.Hause. “Rape victims were executed. These are their sisters, their wives, their mothers. If they do that to their family, what will they do to us?”

The effects of six years of oppression continue despite the fall of the Taliban, according to Ms. Hause. “I’ve been in touch with the women of RAWA,” said Ms. Hause, “They don’t feel like they’re liberated. Until they have a democracy, they’re very skeptical.” Ms. Malone met Ms. Hause one year ago, and their artistic and political interests led to Friday’s collaboration.

“We are all faced with the responsibility to perpetuate the well-being of one another,” said Ms. Malone in a press release. “We are all at risk when anyone faces oppression.” Ms. Malone released her latest album, “Hello Out There,” on her own independent label, SBS Records.

Music during the Taliban regime was prohibited. “She believes in what Diane is doing and wanted to lend her support,” said Stacy Singer, spokeswoman for Ms. Malone. Ms. Hause could not project Friday’s turn-out, but noted 200 guests attended her previous opening at the 2,000 square foot studio.

— Noreen Lewis Cochran for DeKalb Neighbor
February 4, 2002

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