We Die So That is an exhibition of video works, paintings and artefacts that will communicate the true nature of living as a minority in Afghanistan through contemporary storytelling and testimonials. These stories are so often silenced, either by the governments who wish to hide the true scale of conflict or through lack of avenues to communicate with the outside world.
The main part of this exhibition is a series of video installation works which Elyas obtained many footages and images from his two months trip to Afghanistan in 2016. While visiting Kabul in August last year, a twin bomb blast killed more than 90 Hazara protesters, mostly students, at the capital. The attack, which was the deadliest carried in Kabul on Hazaras since 2001, was carried out by ISIS. Elyas was at the site of twin bombings. He was shocked. He used his camera to record the aftermath, including the hunt for a protester, named Rajab, from his hometown who went missing after the Kabul attack. Elyas found a taskera, (Afghan Identity Card) from the site attack which belonged to Rajab. For weeks, he followed the owner and eventually found Rajab’s family parents and his widowed wife and interviewed them.
The art videos and series of portraitures he creates of that tragedy highlight the danger the Hazara still face in Afghanistan, the reality often hidden from Australian public view. Many of those who live in the community on bridging visa and those being marooned to Nauru and Manus are Hazaras. The artist through his artwork takes the viewer behind the hysteria on this issue, the condition of the home country and also the personal experience of trauma he encountered going back his country.