I weave what I have seen: The War Rugs of Afghanistan

Exhibition and Shows

25 Jun 2021 to 15 Aug 2021 Daily Event

I weave what I have seen is a testimony to the creativity and resilience of a people who have faced the devastating effects of war and conflict.

The rug-makers of Afghanistan developed a complex imagery of war planes, helicopters, machine guns, maps and slogans during three war-torn decades, between the late 1970s and 2010.

Afghan rugs and carpets were traditionally made by semi-nomadic peoples recognised for their distinctive designs, their rich palette and superior craftsmanship. Significant changes to the rug designs began to appear soon after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979.

The persistence of war and conflict in the region and the exodus of nearly four million people into Iran and Pakistan has instigated this new genre of war art.

I weave what I have seen consists of 40 rugs of different shapes and sizes sourced from Australian private collections. The exhibition investigates the history, iconography, production and distribution of these “war carpets” in Afghanistan itself, and among the far-flung Afghani diaspora.

I weave what I have seen developed out of a research project undertaken by Nigel Lendon (Honorary Fellow, School of Art and Design) and Tim Bonyhady (Faculty of Law) at the Australian National University.

The exhibition and its national tour are organised by the ANU Drill Hall Gallery in conjunction with Tim Bonyhady.


Carpark Non Smoking Public Toilet Shop / Gift Shop


Free Entry

Event Dates

Daily Event

25 Jun 2021 to 15 Aug 2021

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