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Culture

Bamyan Art Market; stepping up towards self-sufficiency

By:  Karima Malikzada

Carpets, rugs, felts, embroidery, pottery and other local women’s products can be mostly found in the art market shops. All the sellers are women and the products they sell are either their own or bought from women providing at homes.
Established years ago, the small art market with 22 mud-made shops is located in the northern part of Bamyan city bazaar, where women sell their handicrafts. The market was established by a number of businesswomen to provide income for women who are engaged in weaving carpets, rugs, felt or designing women and children embroidered garments etc in the ancient province. Humaira is the sole breadwinner of her 26 family members; ten children and 16 grandchildren, while other men and women of the family are all jobless due to lack of work opportunities. She regularly sits in her shop to sell local goods to the people and those visiting Bamyan province. As one of the tourist cities of Afghanistan, Bamyan houses the collapsed body of the Buddha and the legendary watershed drawing thousands of foreign and domestic tourists to visit the city each year, even by crossing the route controlled by the Taliban fighters. Tourism and the culture of interaction has made Bamyan one of the safest and most trusted provinces for tourists and a province where, unlike other remote provinces in Afghanistan, women have access to work and enjoy relative freedom.
Salima Sadeqi, another woman who designs wedding dresses at the Bamyan Art Market, dreams to become one day the designers of clothes nationwide.
“I want to be known nationally and globally,” she said adding it has been five years since he rented a shop in the small market to offer the clothes she designs to his customers and she designs a fabric that she says will be used to wrap babies.
“With the income from my business, I sent my children to a private school, bought gold for myself and bought land and built a new house for myself,” the joyful Salima said.
Carpets, rugs, felts, embroidered garments, and other types of embroideries, pottery and other local women’s products are some of the products that could be found in most art shops of the mostly visited art market.
The art market sellers are all women, and the products they sell are either their own or bought from women providing at homes.

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