ART: In War-torn Kabul, 10,000 Pink Balloons Carry Message of Peace



Taking matters into their own hands and a stand against war, more than 100 volunteers and Afghan artists—filmmakers, painters, musicians, photographers and crafters of traditional arts—armed 10,000 of Kabul’s citizens with pink balloons on Saturday. It was symbolic, at best, considering the realities facing Afghanistan amid suicide bombings and ongoing conflicts with Taliban insurgents.

The peaceful message behind the public art project, “We Believe in Balloons” Day, came on the heels of a deadly militant assault on an international compound in the city. Decades of war and civil unrest have left deep scars throughout the country. Still, hope can be a powerful salve. New York-based installation artist Yazmany Arboleda encourages open discussions about activism in support of human rights.

“Through this gesture they [artists] hope to ignite the imaginations of people here and around the world,” Arboleda shared with Tania Fuentez Media ahead of his ambitious project. Similar conceptual art campaigns have seen success in India, Japan and Kenya, with Arboleda at the helm of the “Monday Morning” series.

What made Afghanistan unique was a globally crowd-funded effort raising widespread awareness and more interest in a place so filled with strife. Each bio-degradable balloon, filled with personal notes from supporters around the world, cost $1.

“We would like to offer the world 10,000 opportunities to imagine the future of Afghanistan,” Arboleda explained. “By painting Kabul pink we hope to focus on creativity as the answer to so many of the challenges that people face here daily.”


‘We Believe in Balloons’ project:

The Glassless Glasses Studio:

UNAMA Multimedia (photo gallery):

4 thoughts on “ART: In War-torn Kabul, 10,000 Pink Balloons Carry Message of Peace

  1. Pingback: Kabuli Balloons and Kandahari Bicycles: One Afghan’s Perspective on Foreign Aid | People's Republic of Snarkistan

    • Thank you for expressing an opposing viewpoint. It is key in any serious attempts to understand and improve the human condition, whether from a safe, familiar place or the vast unknown. Art can divide or unite, being open to wildly varying interpretation. In this case, it may lead someone somewhere to do whatever they can to change a horrific situation for the better. As I noted in my article, pink balloons are symbolic but who knows what other life-changing efforts may spring from the gesture… in Afghanistan and elsewhere needed.

  2. Pingback: The Kabul Diaries 3: Pink Balloons | The World Breaks Everyone

  3. Pingback: Of Balloons and Bicycles: An Afghan Perspective on Foreign Aid | Sunny in Kabul

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