August 11, 2014
“Faces of Afghanistan” art exhibit on display in King-Shivell Gallery through September 26

Lees-McRae’s King-Shivell Gallery is proud to welcome North Carolina artist Skip Rohde and his 52 small-scale framed drawings titled “Faces of Afghanistan.” Each image depicts a native person Rohde encountered while traveling in the Kandahar Province of Afghanistan as part of the State Department’s stabilization team. This exhibit is free and open to the public.

“This exhibit is a pictorial record of current people living in an area ravaged by war,” said Jason Sabbides, assistant professor of Communication Arts and Design and manager of King-Shivell Gallery. “It also gives us a glimpse at an artist that lived with these people during the current U.S. military operations in Afghanistan. His drawing technique can be juxtaposed with great masters like Rembrandt, and is a fabulous opportunity for art majors and non-art majors to see such supreme skill.”

The images focus on natives from the Maiwand District in Kandahar Province of Afghanistan. This area was the site of the Taliban resurgence in 2006 and is desperately poor, featuring poppy and marijuana as its cash crops and offering very few schools.

According to Rohde’s artist statement, “My duties required me to meet with government officials and district elders on a near daily basis. Often, I would attend large meetings of district leaders as an observer. I usually had my sketchbook with me and, if the opportunity arose, would quietly draw the participants.  Sometimes, back on our base, I would make pastel drawings from photos or sketches. Rural Afghans have amazing faces, full of passion, intensity, humanity, and the stress of living the past 30 years at war. I tried to capture their characteristics and show them as individuals. For that is how I saw them: each man an individual, yet rooted in the basic human desires to make a living, provide for his family, and raise his children in a safe and secure environment.”

The Communication Arts and Design program at Lees-McRae offers three concentrations, one of which is Art and Design. This concentration is designed for students interested in fine art techniques and 2-D design. Coursework within this concentration explores studio art and art history, which makes viewing the work of visiting artists a perfect addition to the work explored in the classroom.

For more information about King-Shivell Gallery, please contact Jason Sabbides at

Media Contact:

Blaine Hansen  |  Vice President of Strategic Planning and Effectiveness
Tel: 828.898.8838  |  Email:
Creator of "Faces of Afghanistan" Skip Rohde.
2012, "Abdul Hakim," pastel on toned paper, 13" x 11" by Skip Rohde
2012, "Angry Poppy Farmer," pen and ink on paper, 7" x 5" by Skip Rohde