Abdul Matin Malekzada

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Abdul Matin Malekzada was born in Istalif, a village nestled in the foothills of the Hindu Kush. For 400 years Istalif was famed for its turquoise ceramics, made using a natural potash glaze known as ishkar. Razed to the ground by the Taliban in 1999, many of Istalif's pottery workshops were destroyed, and along with them the knowledge of the ishkar glaze which had made Istalifi pottery so distinctive. Abdul Matin is one of the leading figures in the revival of Istalifi pottery. As head of the Turquoise Mountain Institute's Ceramics Department and the Director of Afghan Traditional Pottery, a business exporting Istalifi ceramics around the world, Abdul Matin is reintroducing the use of natural glazes and the distinctive ishkar glaze for which Istalif became famous.