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Over 500 artisans display their skills at Lok Mela

Over 500 artisans display their skills at Lok Mela

ISLAMABAD: The ninth day of Lok Mela, the ongoing folk festival at Lok Virsa, featured mesmerising music, exotic food and the works of skilled artisans.

Organised by the National Institute of Folk and Traditional Heritage Lok Virsa, the festival offered glimpses of the traditional heritage of various provinces and regions, including the remotest parts of the country.

“We could not have asked for better weather and a better stage for such a show,” said Imran Naseer, who had brought his two children to the festival grounds.

Exhibitions featuring artisans at work was one of the biggest attractions at the Lok Mela. Over 500 artisans could be seen displaying their skills in attractive cultural pavilions and mesmerising their audience with their distinctive styles.

The crafts on display were: Multani, Bahawalpuri, Hazara, Swat, Balochi and Sindhi embroidery, block-printing, lacquer work, khussa making, pottery, tie-dye, doll making, khaddar weaving, truck art, wood carving, woodwork, papier-mâché, namda and gabba, metal work, shawl weaving, zari work, motikari, traditional carpets, blue pottery, ajrak, wax printing, stonework, wooden spoon making, pattu weaving and much more.

Malookan from Balochistan was one such artisan, who practices Balochi embroidery. She has carried on this centuries’ old tradition after learning it from her mother and devoted 32 years of her life to this profession.

Haji Akbar Chughtai is proficient in natural dyes from Kahror Pucca, Punjab. The ancient art of wooden block-making has its centre in the lower Indus Valley, encompassing southern Punjab and all of Sindh. He has not only trained his relatives but also imparted training to many artisans in other textile crafts.

Haji Habibur Rehman, a truck artist from Rawalpindi, dazzled viewers with colour, while Deedar Ali from Gilgit-Baltistan impressed the crowd with patti weaving (a woven strip made from sheep’s wool).

“Crafts have meanings and definite social context in traditional society. However, the onslaught of the industrial age is erasing this craft heritage, even in rural areas.

“But there is a recent trend towards the use of crafts as art objects in urban homes. Historic forms and designs are being revived both by the increasing number of trained craftsmen and by designers for the tourist and export trade,” Lok Virsa executive director Fouzia Saeed said.

The Lok Mela will continue at the Lok Virsa complex in Shakarparian until Sunday.

Published in Dawn, April 10th, 2016

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