On the eve of Navruz holiday, the Lady Guli Sheikh, the wife of the Lord Iltaf Sheikh, has agreed to give an interview to the Tashkent Times.
Good afternoon, Lady Sheikh! Thank you for agreeing to take questions from Tashkent Times. It is great honour and privilege to be speaking to you. Can you tell us about yourself.
I was born in Samarqand where I received my school and university education. I attained a degree in nursing and worked in Emergency Hospital in Samarkand.
I was brought up to be loyal to the country of my birth. I descend from a family of Khojas and one of my ancestors was a minister in the court of the Bukhara Emir.
What place the arts occupy in your life?
Being artistic was in my DNA and in fact I have some works of my own and I donate the proceeds from sales of my paintings to charitable causes which include helping disabled persons. www.guli-muradova.com
What brought you to London?
I came to London over 12 years ago to pursue my further education and I have obtained bachelor’s degree in Leadership and Management. As I was from a family of successful businessman with a flair for artistic goods, I had no hesitation in deciding what type of business I should be involved in.
How did you come up with the idea of your business?
I am immensely patriotic and I felt I could bring something of Uzbekistan in England. I therefore took the view that I should market, promote and deal in handmade goods which are produced in Uzbekistan.
I have made the point that people of Uzbekistan have a rich heritage and culture and I continue to talk about distinguished and historic figures which Uzbekistan has produced. The persons I have been talking about include Imam Al-Bukhari, Bin Sina, Alisher Navoi, Al Khwarezmi and one and only Amir Temur.
I have travelled to different parts of Uzbekistan which include Bukhara, Samarqand, Khiva, Kokand, Andijan, Margilan, Tashkent and many others where I met and spoke to numerous masters and acquired knowledge of how the exclusive handmade products are made.
How were the traditional outfits received in the UK?
I have been with my husband Lord Sheikh to attend the garden party in Buckingham Place wearing Ikat Adras from my collection. My Ikat dress caught the imagination of several ladies who were guests of the Queen and they were fascinated by the dress and wanted to come and talk to me to learn about my outfit.
Where can one learn more about your goods?
Having purchased a number of items from different parts of the Uzbekistan I have now prepared my own website www.silkrouteglobal.co.uk to market my goods. I am now beginning to trade the goods which I have brought from Uzbekistan include exclusive ceramics, handmade rugs, luxury clothing and handwoven fabrics are being now marketed and promoted in the United Kingdom.
I have started a group called Uzbekistan’s Rich Culture in Britain to bring together people of Uzbekistan to see how we can promote Uzbekistan’s culture in the United Kingdom.
How is the Uzbek diaspora celebrating Navruz?
The Embassy of Uzbekistan to the UK is celebrating Navruz on 27th March and I have been asked to give a talk at the reception about my unique business. I feel that every member of Uzbekistan diaspora should be proud of their heritage and promote Uzbekistan in every way they can.
Thanks again to you for your efforts and best wishes for continued success!