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Camp Atterbury mural exhibit unveiled at airport before it begins traveling

By Mitch Legan, IPB News | Published on in Arts and Culture, Community, Statewide News
(Alan Mbathi/IPB News)

A piece of Indiana history will soon travel the country.

Local and federal officials gathered at the Indianapolis International Airport Thursday to unveil a traveling mural exhibit commemorating Afghan evacuees’ time and experiences at Camp Atterbury.

Over 7,000 Afghan people were housed temporarily at the National Guard base near Edinburgh last year after Kabul fell to the Taliban. From September to January, they waited to begin new lives in America, undergoing rigorous health and safety screenings.

READ MORE: An inside look at life for Afghan evacuees at Camp Atterbury

U.S. Rep. Andre Carson (D-Indianapolis) attended the event, saying the mural will serve as a reminder of “Hoosier hospitality” and America’s strength in diversity.

“This country should be a place where people of all backgrounds can escape oppression and begin a new life,” Carson said. “Your experience is the latest chapter of the American story.”

Titled “August 15,” the mural’s focal point is an abstract clock, which artist Tiffany Black said represents the waiting evacuees had to endure. Aug. 15 was the day Kabul fell and Afghans’ lives were again changed forever.

Black partnered with two evacuees, Zainab Ahmadi and Fawzia Abdaly, to lead the project, which received contributions from 57 other evacuees. The experience provided respite and allowed them to process what they were going through.

“This mural is what remains as a record of their collective experiences, emotions and their hopes for the future,” Black said.

Black says the purpose of the exhibit is to shed light on the refugee crisis and raise funds for the people of Afghanistan.

The exhibit will be at the airport until May, when it will begin traveling the state. Black says it then will move to other states and then Canada, where Ahmadi and Abdaly have relocated.