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March 19, 2008 > Experience Afghanistan

Experience Afghanistan

It is a country on the fringe of our consciousness. Home to centuries of trading caravans bringing a cultural potpourri, the people have survived through raw courage, strength and practical skills such as horsemanship. One outcome of this lifestyle is the national sport known as Buzkashi that resembles a free-form rugby game that has subtle rules, no boundaries and substitutes the carcass of a calf, sheep or goat for a ball. This game is unique to the lifestyle of the steppes of Asia where strength and agility on horseback was often the edge necessary to hunt successfully and prevail in combat.

Local artist, Sami Nadi understands Afghanistan intimately since it is the country of his birth. He can express the spirit and determination of the Afghan people through the eyes of an artist which in the past has been a dangerous occupation in that country. As versatile as a Buzkashi horseman, Nadi adapts to many artistic medium including sculpture of clay, plaster and a variety of other materials as well as use of the brush to bring the stark beauty of Afghanistan to life. A fascination with the Wild American West is also evident in Nadi's work as well as a whimsical style that reflects his extensive European art training and experience.

Nadi can often be found in his studio at the Willits Center in Irvington (Fremont). Here, scenes of Afghanistan mingle with quirky sculptures of cowboys and children resting on books. The eclectic nature of the man is reflected throughout the studio which may contain a variety of materials and projects reflecting international themes. Amidst the artworks, some parents and grandparents submit a picture of their loved ones for conversion from a two dimensional image to a three dimensional sculpture. With careful study and phenomenal fine arts skills, the pictures come alive.

For additional information or to arrange a personal tour of Sami Nadi's studio, contact him at (510) 979-5600 or visit him at 3755 Washington Blvd., Fremont.

An additional opportunity to experience the sounds, tastes and culture of Afghanistan will be available to the public from noon to 3 p.m. on Saturday, March 22 in the Centerville District of Fremont. Many Afghan businesses have mingled with other established businesses and cultures from throughout the world in Centerville. This street festival celebrates the Afghan New year and will use the parking lot of Century House (37447 Fremont Blvd.) and feature a barbeque at De Afghanan Kabob Restaurant (37405 Fremont Blvd.). Other local shops featuring Afghan merchandise will be open as well.

For those who arrive early, the Centerville Farmers' Market will be open from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. on nearby Bonde Street at Fremont Blvd. close to the Centerville Train Station.

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