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Indy Airport to Launch Afghan Traveling Mural Exhibit Across U.S.

Mural tells ‘how hundreds of thousands of lives were changed forever’

INDIANAPOLIS (April 14, 2022) – The Indianapolis International Airport (IND) will be the starting point of a traveling mural exhibit that will make its way across the country to tell the intricate and harrowing story of 7,000 Afghan evacuees’ journey to Camp Atterbury, Ind. in September 2021.

Indianapolis Airport Authority officials, along with local and national leaders, gathered today at the Indy airport to celebrate the unveiling of the traveling mural exhibit, which will be on display through May in the airport’s public gathering place, Civic Plaza. From there, the mural will travel across the nation to exhibit in various locations.

“The intricate and heartfelt story this exhibit tells is exactly what our arts and culture program is all about – to share diverse experiences, cultures, perspectives and ideals via the arts,” said Mario Rodriguez, IAA executive director. “Through travel we gain experiences that broaden our perspectives and views, and for Hoosiers, the Indianapolis International Airport is a launching place for those thoughtful transformations.”

The collaborative mural was created by Indianapolis-based muralist Tiffany Black, along with Zainab Ahmadi and Fawzia Abdaly, Afghan artists and evacuee guests who were advocates for women empowerment in Afghanistan.

In addition, 57 Afghan adults and children contributed to the mural by helping to paint and providing artworks made during their stay at Camp Atterbury. The mural tells many overlapping stories of how hundreds of thousands of lives were forever changed in September 2021. The number 15 featured in the direct center of the artwork signifies the weight of August 15, the date the Taliban took control of Afghanistan. The seven circles depicted in the mural represent transformation of life, family, peace, safety, visions of home, identity and beauty of culture.

“While these guests of the Hoosier state have now found homes throughout North America, this mural remains a testimony to their collective experiences, both the initial fear and heartache, and the welcoming spirit in Indiana upon their arrival in America,” said Black. “We look forward to sharing their story across the nation, which includes their hopes and dreams for the future.”

Black is also a member of Lamplighters, a group of women who worked with evacuees at Indiana’s Camp Atterbury. They nurture relationships built with refugees and work to enhance their welfare.

The original mural artwork was created as part of Operation Allies Welcome in late 2021, when thousands of refugees from Afghanistan were temporarily housed at Camp Atterbury and throughout the United States, after the fall of their government to the Taliban.

The IAA funded the conversion of the stationary mural display originally unveiled at Camp Atterbury to a high-quality, traveling exhibit that can be easily transported and shared with millions of Americans. The mural exhibit is part of the IND Arts & Culture Program that features the largest collection of local artists’ work among airports in the country.

IND Arts & Culture Program
The IND Arts & Culture Program also features a range of work, showcasing more than 20 art exhibits currently on temporary display at the Indy airport. Those exhibits have infused diverse experiences and currently include the College Football Playoff Foundation: Indiana Arts Educators exhibit (KIND Gallery), What Happens After (Sensory Rooms in Concourses A and B), Finding Joy (Concourse Connector), vinyl murals covering construction walls and more. Additional experiences in the terminal highlight the vibrant music and literature scene in Indianapolis.

For more information about the mural, click here.