Christopher Le Brun and his son, Edmund, champion Afghan weavers: The Financial Times
28 February 2022
Edmund’s relationship with Afghanistan has been evolving since 2013. He and Flore met while working in Kabul, where Edmund was helping to set up businesses, schools, clinics and artisanal spaces inside the restored buildings of the Old City. The experience left them with a profound appreciation of the craft history of the region – one that led to the creation of Ishkar, a London-based retail business focused on showcasing artisanal wares from conflict-torn and politically tumultuous regions, when they returned to London in 2015. As well as arranging trips to countries such as Afghanistan, Yemen and Iraq, the couple started importing a range of homewares including jewel-coloured handblown glassware from Herat, jewellery from Kabul, Amman and Yangon and exquisite woven rugs made from Ghazni wool by a community of weavers in north-west Afghanistan. “We wanted to create economic opportunities [for these craftsmen] and show that these countries are able to produce world-class luxury goods,” he says.
It seemed a natural progression for Edmund to produce rugs featuring his father’s artwork. “Edmund and I had been talking about doing something together for a while,” explains Christopher. A painter, printmaker and sculptor, he presided over the RA from 2011 to 2019 and served as a trustee of British art institutions including the National Gallery, Dulwich Picture Gallery, the National Portrait Gallery and the Tate.
“My father was always very supportive of my living in places that are not what would ordinarily seem safe,” says Edmund. “He and my mother [the artist Charlotte Verity] had a feeling for Afghanistan because they had been to visit me. And when he saw the potential in us creating rugs together, it was very easy for us to slot into a professional relationship. He has a feeling for colour and I understand the carpet-making, so we each speak with a lot of confidence and authority about our own parts.”
Read the full feature by Fiona Golfar in The Financial Times.
Christopher Le Brun x Ishkar, ishkar.com. For more information on how to donate to the Afghan crisis, visit donate.emergencyuk.org/ishkar and donation.dec.org.uk/afghanistan-crisis-appeal
A solo exhibition by Christopher Le Brun opens at Lisson in London this July.