War imagery has appeared in modern Afghan rugs since the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, when weavers began incorporating images of tanks, rifles, and bombers. Now, it appears that Afghan refugees in Pakistan have started depicting the C.I.A.'s drone war in the country in their traditional crafts.
According to an article in Colors, the first "drone war rug" is dated 2014, and was posted online by US entrepreneur Kevin Sudeith, who has been collecting war rugs since he first discovered them in an Italian architect's home in 1996. "A super subtle drone war rug," is how he described the new find. "Vegetable dye, super quality wool. Totally unique and timely piece."
Sudeith has been unable to speak with weavers about the rugs and cannot confirm who actually makes them. The US Department of Labor has them listed as crafts that may involve child and forced labor. Sudeith tells Colors the majority of weavers are Afghan refugees living in Pakistan and are traditionally women.
"The brass ring for war rug people is to speak with weavers and hear their stories and motivations," says Sudeith. Until their stories can be told, the rugs will have to speak for them.
· Drones on Rugs [Color]