Pietra Dura: Ancient Art in Violent Times
Artist collective from war-torn region uplifts local and international communities
“To conserve an ancient art in violent times is a therapeutic experience.”
Meherunnisa Asad is the creative director of Lél, an artistic collective in war-torn Peshawar, Pakistan, specializing in pietra dura.
“When Peshawar was violence-ridden for a whole decade, Lél became a way of pushing back and finding space for beauty in very dark times. All of us lost family members to suicide bomb blasts and violence during that time,” says Asad.
Lél is reviving the 16th-century Florentine and Mughal art of pietra dura—handcrafted stone inlay. Many of the artisans are Afghani refugees.
“Our workshop gives you hope. There’s a strange kind of satisfaction in creating works of art despite the difficulties, turmoil, and challenging circumstances.”