I always like to go high on the ramps. When I’m Up There I feel free, like I’m flying. I like that feeling a lot.
In a marvelous tale of simplicity, ingenuity and determination, Australian Oliver Percovich changed the lives of street children on the streets of Kabul and now Cambodia and South Africa. Percovich captured the curiosity of children — many of them selling goods on the streets of Kabul to support their low-income families — as he rolled by on his skateboard.
The nonprofit Skateistan has a much larger goal today of empowering young people, providing a foundation for change and educational opportunities.
Girl Power Gets Flying In Kabul
Young women make up about 45% of Skateistan’s members. These girls are forbidden to ride bicycles and they must wear restrictive clothing for many sport-related activities. My Modern Met writes:
For these girls, this skateboarding initiative not only gives them the chance to go to school, it also allows them to feel a sense of freedom, strength, and that they have a safe haven away from the dangers that they face on a daily basis. Even with their confining clothes, they are able to successfully skateboard, which would explain why this activity is becoming the nation’s #1 sport for women.
Enter now British photographer Jessica Fulford Dobson, who heard about Skateistan and begged to photograph the liberated, airborn girls. After gaining Percovich’s trust, Fulford-Dobson used a discreet style with no artificial lighting to capture the independent spirit and joy of Afghan girls in this stupendous, small project.
The Skate Girls of Kabul exhibition opens at London’t Saatchi Gallery from April 15th-28th. Read a wonderful article by Andrea Alessi for Artslant ‘Afghanistan’s Skater Girls Roll Into the Saatchi Gallery’.