First skateboards ever made in Afghanistan
The creation of the 10 skateboards was part of Skatiestan’s cultural exchange program known as Connecting Dots—a project linked with the young Lakota (Native American) skateboarders from the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota with the Skateistan students in Kabul.
The creation of the first skateboards made in Afghanistan started with a set of pre-molded plywood supplied by Create-A-Skate. The Skateistan group worked on the geometry they desired for their skateboards. A series of initial sketches allowed for them to mark out the unique shapes on the rectangular pieces of plywood. (skateistan.org)
“We got information about the measurement and cutting off the edges of skateboards. Then we measured and drew two skateboards,” Sakateistan website quoted Nawid, Skateistan volunteer.
Once the students had penned their creations, they learned how to use a jigsaw to cut out their design. At first a number of the students were too quick and eager, disregarding the pre-drawn lines and letting their excitement take a hold.
“The students were divided into girls and boys groups. Each group drew and cut off the edges of boards and then sanded it. Everyone was very happy and excited about cutting and making the skateboards. So far we were using skateboards and didn’t know how a skateboard is made! But today we got information about cutting and making a skateboard and really enjoyed doing it,” said Hanifa, female skateboard instructor.
After the shapes were completed, the next exciting part of the process was to bring colour to the boards. The students first drew an outline of what they wanted to include on the board, and then added a variety of colours to finish them up. The designs on the skateboards were inspired by images of important cultural icons in both the Afghan and Lakota cultures. Skateistan students participated in classes that involved drawing and painting the Lakota cultural symbols. This includes the famous dream catchers, which have their origins in Lakota culture, animals found in South Dakota, and traditional dress. Symbols from Afghan culture include a mosque, the traditional dress of Afghan people, and even the beautiful Hindu Kush Mountains surrounding Kabul.
Since the completion of the first 10 skateboards designed, created and painted in Afghanistan, the Skateistan students’ work will be displayed around the United States. Their skateboards depicting Lakota culture will initially go to the Pine Ridge reservation, and may even have a chance to be displayed inside the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC.
Skatiestan is a non-profit organization using skateboarding as a tool for empowering youths. Over 40% of the students are girls.
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