“It’s hard not to think of Afghan girls skateboarding as an unlikely clash of cultures. But when you see these children tearing around the skate park, shrieking with laughter, your preconceptions drop away… I hope that this collection captures something of their spirit: their joy in life, their individuality, and their community.” — Jessica Fulford-Dobson
Award-winning British photographer Jessica Fulford-Dobson travelled to Afghanistan in the summer of 2013 and the summer of 2014 to document young girls participating in a unique program called Skateistan — an international NGO founded in 2009 in Kabul, Afghanistan, to provide girls with a place to skate safely and a route into education.
Fulford-Dobson visited Skateistan for a total of six weeks and her engaging photographs from her time there deftly undermine cultural, religious, and gender stereotypes. Collected in a book called Skate Girls of Kabul and now exhibited in the Aga Khan Park, these photographs present an uncomplicated celebration of childhood and girl power.
Jessica Fulford-Dobson is a freelance, London-based portrait photographer who began her career in the year 2000. Her photographs have since been published in newspapers and magazines worldwide, including the Telegraph Magazine and British Vogue, as well as being exhibited in New York, London, and Prague. In November 2014, out of over 4,000 submissions, Jessica’s portrait of “Skate Girl” won second prize at The National Portrait Gallery’s Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize Award, where it was exhibited for the first time. In April 2015, Jessica had her first solo exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery, London.
Skateistan is an award-winning international non-profit organization empowering youth and children through skateboarding and education in Afghanistan, Cambodia, and South Africa. Through their innovative programs, Outreach, Skate and Create, Back-to-School, and Youth Leadership, Skateistan aims to give youth the opportunity to become leaders for a better world.