Pottery artist from Afghanistan adapts his craft to fit new life in New Milford
A pottery artist who came to the U.S. after fleeing Afghanistan in 2021 has restarted his career with the help of volunteers at the nonprofit New Milford Refugee Resettlement.
About a dozen of the 1.6 million people who fled Afghanistan ended up in New Milford, according to the United Nations.
Matin Malikzada is one of the refugees who ended up in New Milford. He's a seventh-generation clay potter who had to adapt to finding American equivalents of the tools he used in Afghanistan.
"I started from zero," says Malikzada.
Malikzada was first put into a factory that made shelves. He was struggling mentally, psychologically, and spiritually.
Volunteers from New Milford Refugee Resettlement helped him restart.
"We asked if we could help start up his business again because this was something that will nourish him," says Saun Ellis, of the New Milford Refugee Resettlement.
The organization helped him sell his work online and at galleries and shows.
Malikzada will have his works on display at the Mattatuck Museum in Waterbury starting on Sept. 24.