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Cultural performances at Lok Mela entertain visitors

ISLAMABAD, APR 09 (DNA) – The on-going Folk Festival of Pakistan “Lok Mela”, organized by the National Institute of Folk and Traditional Heritage (Lok Virsa), here at Shakarparian is immensely contributing towards documenting and preserving traditional folk crafts and projecting craftspeople.
The glimpses of rural folk and traditional heritage of different provinces and regions including remotest parts have coloured the grounds of the federal capital for ten consecutive days.
Besides several other features for families and children, exhibition of Artisans-at-work is a major attraction for the visitors at Lok Mela.
Over five hundred craftspeople are seen actively demonstrating their works in artistically designed cultural pavilions, putting their creativity in arts, crafts and innovation. They are mesmerizing the visitors with their unique artisanship.
The crafts on display are embroidery (including Multani, Bahawalpuri, Hazara, Swat, Balochi & Sindhi embroidery) block printing, lacquer work, Khussa making, pottery, tie and dye, doll making, khaddar weaving, truck art, wood carving, wood work, papier mache, namda & gabba, metal work, Shawl weaving, zari work, motikari, traditional carpets, blue pottery, Ajrak, wax printing, stone work, wooden spoon making, pattu weaving and many others.
Being a prime institution dealing with Pakistani folk culture, Lok Virsa is cognizant of the need for gender equality which is seen in each event that it holds from time to time, because in this way both male and female practitioners afford equal opportunity of showcasing their talent and getting due recognition thereof.

In the present event too, one can see a number of female artisans demonstrating their skills. The most prominent among them is Mst Malookan from Balochistan. She practices Balochi embroidery and has carried on this centuries’ old tradition from her mother and devoted 32 years of her life to this profession. She stands out not only for her excellence but also in her tireless propagation of this art by imparting it to the future generations.
Another craftswoman Pari Bibi hailing from Badin, Sindh weaves Farasi (traditional rug). She is a 75-year old artisan having expertise in the art of weaving since her childhood.
Haji Akbar Chughtai is an expert in natural dyes from Kahror Pucca, Punjab. The ancient art of wooden block making has its centres in the lower Indus valley encompassing southern Punjab and all of Sindh. He has not only trained his family members but also imparted training to many artisans in other crafts of textile.
Haji Habib ur Rehman from Rawalpindi, Punjab is the master artisan in truck art. This colourful, sometimes dazzling, art is not only done on the bodies of trucks but also other vehicles and means of transportation like buses, tankers, mini-buses, rickshaws, tongas and even donkey carts moving on the road throughout the country. Deedar Ali in patti weaving (woven strip made from sheep wool) from Gilgit Baltistan is also seen actively demonstrating his workmanship.
Talking to this scribe, Lok Virsa’s Executive Director Dr. Fouzia Saeed told that Pakistan with its rich and varied heritage has a craft tradition of more than 9,000 years dating back to the Mehergarh civilization in Balochistan, when reveals the earliest evidence for pottery production.
The Indus Valley civilization of Mohenjodaro in Sindh and Harappa civilization in Punjab (5,000 B.C.) indicates impressions of woven cloth production from cotton and wool. The dominant historical influence still to be seen in the form, design and colour of Pakistani handicrafts is essentially Islamic, a fusion of Turkish, Arab, Persian and the indigenous Mughal traditions.
The crafts represent a valuable material heritage, which forms a tangible part of our historical and contemporary culture.
Unlike the west, most traditional crafts in Pakistan is neither a profession nor a hobby, but an essential component of the diverse cultural patterns – a product of the ethnic and communal attitudes and practices. As such, 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..=DNA

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