War Gardens

A film by Lél which presents the art of Pietra Dura or stone inlay as a means to engage with notions of displacement.

An ancient technique, in which artisans intervene within rock formations, Pietra Dura creates delicate beauty out of separation and re-formation. The film mirrors the ethos of Lél, a Peshawar-based collective that has worked with displaced Afghan refugees living in Pakistan alongside local Pakistani craftspeople, propagating and advancing this method of workmanship for over two decades. 

Responding to this year’s theme, War Gardens reflects on overarching questions of global migration and the role of memory in the process of making. It draws inspiration from War Gardens, the first book by award-winning writer and war correspondent Lalage Snow, which explores current conflicts through the peaceful act of gardening.

The nature-inspired scenescapes of exotic flowers and birds typical of Lél’s designs are a physical manifestation of its ethos - the beauty and growth stemming from collaboration and the exchange of knowledge, despite the region’s sustained history of displacement and conflict. The resulting artworks in stone allude to the process of making that is meditative in its meticulousness and astounding in its results. 



Studio Lél


Zahra Khan, Creative Director, Foundation Art Divvy


Naveed Amjad


Rangoonwala Foundation

2021 Exhibitors