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LOST AND FOUND – BY MURKANI X HAGAR AUSTRALIA
The new MURKANI X HAGAR Lost & Found collection has been created with a desire to help women in need in Afghanistan. The fall of Kabul in August 2021 set the women’s movement in Afghanistan back 20 years with women and girls no longer allowed to learn or earn a living outside the home.
As part of this, HAGAR International set up the Livelihoods Project which focused on supporting 720 families in Kabul. These women will either be given support to start their own small business, join a business cooperative with other families, or be given a job placement opportunity. The objective is that each family will earn an income of at least $100 USD a month: which is sufficient to provide basic food for a family of 8 and cover their energy and clothing needs.
MURKANI Creative Director Kiralee McNamara found inspiration for this collection by looking back into history to the remarkable and mysterious story about a golden hoard of treasure found in Afghanistan which was then lost again. More than 20,000 golden treasures including figurines, belts, jewellery and dress ornaments were found in six tombs (1 man and 5 women) of nomadic tribe’s people thought to be from Central Asia but found in the former region of Bactria in Northern Afghanistan in 1978 on the eve of the Soviet invasion. The discovery was made by a team led by the Greco-Russian archaeologist Victor Sarigiannidis and staff at the national museum in Kabul.
The finds were so rich in gold that it was named Tillya Tepe – "the hill of gold “and quickly acquired legendary status. Few had ever set eyes on the collection apart from the archaeological team and then the treasures vanished without trace, believed possibly to be melted down and smuggled out as gold bullion.
The collection had actually been secretly removed from the museum and stashed in the bank's underground vault under the supervision of the Museum's Director. The handful of museum employees responsible for hiding it had risked their lives to protect the treasure from warring factions and looters in the wake of the withdrawal of Soviet forces from Afghanistan.
The treasures were hidden again until discovered in 2004. At this time, they embarked on a tour around the world to museums including London, New York and Australia. There is now a theory that the treasures have gone into hiding once again with the fall of Kabul in August 2021. Due to the ancient silk route trails that cross Afghanistan, the Tillya Tepe collection includes Mesopotamian-influenced gold from 2,000 BC, Egyptian pieces laden with Lapis lazuli, Central Asian inspired dragon like pieces, Indian-inspired ivory fittings, Roman coins and jewellery and Greek carvings from the outpost of Alexander the Great's Empire.
This romantic idea that this treasure has been lost and found numerous times has inspired Kiralee to create a collection that highlights pieces and themes that while designed centuries ago, are still as relevant to the current situation in Afghanistan today. The key themes of this collection include those of Courage, Love and Renewal.
$10 from each necklace sold in this collection will be donated to the Hagar Afghanistan Livelihood's Project.