ISHKAR uses craft objects to show a different side to countries in conflict - architecture and design

ISHKAR uses craft objects to show a different side to countries in conflict



Social enterprise ISHKAR provides a retail platform for designers and makers in countries like Afghanistan, Yemen and Pakistan. In this interview, co-founder Flore de Taisne says she hopes to change perceptions of places labelled as war zones.
"We need to tell stories of places like Afghanistan that aren't just about bombs and what you can read in the headlines," said De Taisne.
"We wanted to create a platform for artists, photographers and artisans in these places, to showcase what they do."
Flore de Taisne and Edmund Le Brun lived in Afghanistan before founding ISHKAR. Photo is by Alun Callender
ISHKAR does this by sourcing some of the best design and craft objects that these countries have to offer, from Afghan ceramics to Syrian textiles, and marketing them to customers all around the world. This helps outsiders to see a different side to these countries, which isn't associated with war and poverty. At the same time it helps struggling artisans to keep their craft alive, at a time when tourists no longer visit and locals increasingly opt for cheap imports.
Starting with a glassblower in Afghanistan
Before founding ISHKAR, De Taisne and co-founder Edmund Le Brun were living in Kabul, Afghanistan, working on projects with the NGO, Turquoise Mountain. As they started to learn about some of the historic crafts in the region, they saw a business opportunity.
The pair visited the workshop of Ghulam Sekhi, who was once one of many glassblowers in Herat but ...
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