I started my research on Middle Eastern traditional textiles at the UD in 2016. My fascination with traditional textiles goes back many years ago to the time when I still was living in Iran before migrating to Australia in 2005. I have always been fascinated with traditional textiles, many of which, until recently, were produced primarily by women of cultural and linguistic groups in the regions that we conveniently call the Middle East. Traditional textiles are significant manifestations of living cultures. Although these pieces are highly functional objects of everyday use, their aesthetic aspects were never treated as insignificant by the creators; they enriched their surroundings with lively, beautiful colors, forms, and textures. What I find fascinating is that the traditional textile crafts in the Middle East, as in many other parts of the world, are primarily the work of women, and like their makers, the textiles often have a presence that is silent. Coming from the realm of culture and laden with social meanings, they reflect the contexts of their creation and use.
I earned a master's degree in the conservation of cultural materials from the University of Melbourne in 2010. After graduation I worked as a conservator in several institutions in Australia. In 2015, I started to work as a conservator along with an international team in a major cultural heritage preservation project at the National Museum of Afghanistan (NMA), Kabul, where I worked, taught, and lived for over a year. My living and working activities in Kabul were among the most rewarding experiences of my life. I was not unfamiliar with war and its horror; my childhood in Iran coincided with the Iran-Iraq war (1980-89). The NMA building and the museum's collections bear numerous scars and marks of destruction inflicted during the decades-long conflicts. Working with Afghan colleagues, I heard their stories about daily struggles in a city that remained far from being a secure and peaceful place to live. These discussions were daily reminders of how war and conflicts could destroy people's lives even after the fighting had ceased.