The works of Swiss artist Sebastian Utzni uncover cultural, political and aesthetical parallels. They are conceptually strong, politically challenging and never lack a certain childishly playfulness, like his latest publication “A is for Allah”. The booklet appears like an oversized school notebook, with handwritten texts inside which are actually based on woodcuts. The text is a series of writing exercises that has its origin in an Afghan schoolbook series, which was financed by the United States. The Education Program for Afghanistan of the University of Nebraska in Omaha published the books since the beginning of the 1980s with a 50 million dollar grant from United States Agency for International Development during the Russian occupation of Afghanistan. For the Mujahidin, who were fighting against the Sowiets, the schoolbooks were a medium to spread political propaganda and to prepare a new generation of holy warriors with the ideas of a militant islamism for the fight against the enemies of islam. In 1992 there was a revision of the series, militant pictures and texts were removed. Anyway, even today a lot of the original copies of the books are used in the areas influenced by the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
A is for Allah
by Sebastian Utzni
|Release Place||Vienna, Austria|
|Release Date||April 2021|
|Dimensions||24.0 × 30.0 cm|