“It’s hard not to think of Afghan girls skateboarding as an unlikely clash of cultures. But when you see these children tearing around the skate park, shrieking with laughter, your preconceptions drop away... I hope that this collection captures something of their spirit: their joy in life, their individuality, and their community.” — Jessica Fulford-Dobson
Award-winning British photographer Jessica Fulford-Dobson travelled to Afghanistan in the summer of 2013 and the summer of 2014 to document young girls participating in a unique program called Skateistan — an international NGO founded in 2009 in Kabul, Afghanistan, to provide girls with a place to skate safely and a route into education.
Fulford-Dobson visited Skateistan for a total of six weeks and her engaging photographs from her time there deftly undermine cultural, religious, and gender stereotypes. Collected in a book called Skate Girls of Kabul and now exhibited in the Aga Khan Park, these photographs present an uncomplicated celebration of childhood and girl power.
In fall of 2017, the Ismaili Centre, Toronto, Aga Khan Museum, and Aga Khan Park presented the “Skate Girls of Kabul” outdoor photography installation. Exhibited for the first time in North America, “Skate Girls of Kabul” featured portraits of the fierce and feisty young girls of Skateistan — an award-winning, non-profit organization focused on empowering youth and children through skateboarding and education in Afghanistan, Cambodia, and South Africa. In this video, photographer Jessica Fulford-Dobson and guest curator Marianne Fenton offer their insights on the installation.