All of my complaining about never getting to leave the embassy finally paid off. A friend in the Cultural Affairs section invited me to an exhibit of female artists at the home of a member of parliment. It was my second excursion outside the International Zone and my first by car. I've never before arrived at an art show in armored vehicles with a full contingent of security agents (I think there were more of them than there were of us) while wearing body armor.
The parliamentarian who hosted the event greeted us warmly and guided us to the exhibit. Her yard had been transformed into an outdoor showcase of paintings, sculptures and ceramics. I was a bit surprised by the enthusiastic press coverage and kept futzing with my hair while studiously examing the artwork with approving nods.
There was one artist whose work I particularly admired. She said she had been painting since she was five years old and was currently studying art at school. I think she was pleased with my lavish praise of her work.
The organization that sponsored the event, the Women Artists Association, is only a few months old and this was their first exhibition. I was quite impressed with the quality and diversity of the art. It's nice to know that even in these tough times, art and creativity is encouraged and appreciated.