Collection: My Story

My name is Nazdana Bakhtiari. I am a visual artist from Afghanistan, now living in my second home, Australia.
I paint and create handmade art in my small home studio in western Sydney.
I escaped the Taliban two years ago, about ten days after they took control of Afghanistan. It was a difficult time but after making several attempts, on the third time I made it to Kabul airport with my mom. This was a frightening time, spending a whole night with other Afghan people on the ground, with no food or shelter.
Luckily for us, at midnight 25 August, with the help of an Australian Army assistant we made it  to an Australian aircraft. We were sitting on the floor of the aircraft until we got to Dubai. After 9 days in Dubai, my mom and I arrived in Sydney, Australia!
Source: GettyImages
For 2 weeks we had to stay in Quarantine in Central. I kept looking outside, watching people pass along the streets.
I was thinking how wonderful they must feel walking freely along Sydney’s streets.
Why are they not flying with happiness (Afghan expression), to be so free in this country?
After what I went through in Afghanistan, finding myself in a hotel in Sydney was something beyond all my dreams. Even in quarantine, I still felt more freedom than I’ve ever felt living in Afghanistan.
When I was living in Afghanistan, I had a small business selling custom made embroidery hoops and original paintings through my Instagram account. This all ended once the Taliban took over Kabul.  My life changed forever at that point.
In January 2023, with the support of many people, I once again started my art business here in Sydney, Australia.
My inspiration comes from believing in hope- to find strength to overcome the challenges that I faced after the Taliban took over Afghanistan. I will never forget the anxiety of trying to reach the Kabul airport. In just the span of a day, you can wake up and everything you know has changed. Suddenly, as a woman, you are not allowed to do anything, go anywhere, wear the clothes you like or study what you love. This is the worst thing that can happen to any person.
Hope has kept me alive. In Australia, I am free to do whatever I like- to study and to restart my business. Painting is a deep desire of my heart. It connects me to nature, love, and the joy of life. I want my artworks to inspire others to believe in hope and the possibility of the darkness lifting one day. To trust that the happiness, joy and love of life will return.