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Afghan artists learn from Italian master

February 01, 2009 | Yahoo News new window

HERAT (AFP) - Italian artist Ernesto Lamagna, "sculptor of the angels," moves around a small makeshift classroom in a heavily secured military base in western Afghanistan with pride and enthusiasm.

He arrived a week earlier, brought by Italian troops, to work with young artists in Herat, a city with centuries of art, architecture and culture, but much of it destroyed by decades of war and fundamentalism.

"They have unleashed themselves," enthused the artist of his proteges.

On the walls are canvasses of conventional, perhaps commercial, images -- the face of an Afghan resistance hero, traditional street scenes, horses.

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