Embroidery is deeply rooted in Afghan culture. Delicate silk satin stitches are typically sewn on heavy silk, wool, or cotton. Designs are intricate and precise and are not drawn on the fabric. Instead, designs are minutely woven in symmetrical and matched patterns. The work is extremely physical and requires great concentration and attention to detail. Latifa Ali Mohammad embroiders traditional pieces of clothing such as dresses, tunics and chemises. She also creates decorative pieces for family, friends and members of the community. Her pieces combine and reflect various typical Afghan embroidery techniques. Her embroidery work and dresses are displayed at weddings, birthdays, and celebrations as well as at other social gatherings. Latifa grew up in Kabul, Afghanistan, and began to learn embroidery from her mother and grandmother as a child. She remembers her mother always busy working on pieces of clothing or decorative pieces for friends and family.
In the last several years the Capital District has seen a growing number of Afghan refugees settling and making Albany their new home. Latifa arrived in the Capital District six years ago as a refugee escaping the Taliban, political unrest and violence. Since arriving in the Capital Region, Latifa has been an active member of the growing Afghan community in Albany.
Latifa is an active participant in embroidery gatherings along with other Afghan women of the community where she transmits her artistic knowledge to others including young children. especially her niece, Shakiba. Latifa’s work is of importance not only aesthetically but also to maintain traditions meaningful to the Afghan community and providing a sense of community and shared meaning.