Ken Hall: Infidels of the Hindu Kush

28 July – 12 September 1994

Between October 1991 and June 1992 freelance graphic designer illustrator and teacher Ken Hall lived for eight months in Pakistan carrying out volunteer mission work. Part of that time was spent among the Kalasha who live in three valleys of the Hindu Kush on Pakistan's North West frontier.

The purpose of Hall's visit among these people was to illustrate primary literacy material that was being produced in the Kalash language written by and for the Kalash. The Kalash or Kalasha tribe have held on to their religion and traditions. Their culture which is unique includes art, particularly painting. Every year during the time of the winter festival as a part of festival paintings engage whole families. At the same time ritual paintings are also made on the temple sanctuary commemorative of the past.

This exhibition comprises photographs Ken Hall took which document Kalash society, focusing on images of carving temple painting and the people. Also included are alphabet illustrations he made and paintings and craft objects of the Kalash. The Kalash culture which Hall has documented has special qualities. They are among the last of the world's tribal people whose close integration of life and culture are still very much intact. However the Kalash are already under threat from not only the cash economy of the outside world but also they are a minority among a Moslem majority. Within a generation the uniqueness of their culture may be totally lost.

('Infidels of the Hindu Kush', Bulletin, No.90, June/July 1994, p.2)

Exhibition number 555