Bibi behind the Bombs and the Burqua

A young girl and her family return to Afghanistan in a brief time of Peace.

The writer Berit Molander and I both travelled to Afghanistan when the story “Bibi Behind the Bombs and the Burqua” was still just an idea. Berit collected research with pen and paper, and I with camera and sketchbook, – from the same experiences, festivities, landscapes, and interviews. I also kept a diary from the journey.

Stella with driver, translator, and author in Afghanistan
Stella with Bibi and family in Afghanistan

As illustrators and writers share and tell the same story, they may share and research the same sources, – even though each one may be looking for different kinds of information to tell different parts of a story.

Though the photos I took in Afghanistan were intended as documentation for the paintings for the future book, “Bibi Behind the Bombs and the Burqua”, these photos, along with excerpts from my Diary were published in The Norwegian Church Aid magazine.

My diary notations about drawing and painting with my paint box, inspired in turn, the author Maxine Trottier to write the picturebook “The Paint Box”.

Diary notations about the experiences of sketching in Afghanistan were also used in the essay: “A Comparison of the Documentary Process and Studio Paintings of Stella East and Paul Kane,” and in my thesis “Picturing Stories”.

Bibi behind the Bombs and the Burqua
Images Stella East:
Acrylic on Canvas
Words by Berit Molander
Norwegian Church Aid. Oslo, Norway. 1994

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