Firuza Khamraeva, Fattillo Kendjaev, Saidjon Mukhlisov, Fotima Fozilova, Salima Koshmurodova, Zarina Kendjaeva
Medium of Work:
Lushly textured, intricately patterned, and riotously colored—not to mention steeped in history, Uzbek rugs have enthralled collectors for centuries. Once part of the Persian Empire, Uzbek artists have a long tradition of creating exquisite textiles, passing skills from one generation to the next. Master artisan Fatillo Kendjaev, raised in a family of weavers, has an interest in making textiles which extends far beyond simply creating pretty rugs.
For some of his work, Kendjaev derives inspiration from 14th and 15th century miniature Uzbek paintings, extracting themes or patterns which translate into exceptionally unique tapestry designs. Kendjaev is a master of suzani, a Persian word that literally means needle, though it refers colloquially to embroidered fabrics used in both everyday life and special occasions. In his suzani, Kendjaev incorporates traditional motifs, such as plant life and animals, surrounded by often elaborate borders. From bedspreads and wall decor to small satchels and bags, many of Kendjaev’s textiles utilize dyes from natural sources, like pomegranate and grape skins, for example, as well as walnut shells and mulberry leaves.
It hasn’t always been easy for artisans like Kendjaev to create work and sell it. Under Communist rule in the 20th century, Uzbek crafts were looked at with suspicion, thought to be too closely tied to feudal history, and therefore antithetical to modernizing society. Thankfully, since the fall of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, Uzbek artists and craftspeople have approached their creative practices with renewed vigor.