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February 8, 2016

Training in Kashmiri folk crafts concludes at Lok Virsa

Islamabad

 
February 8, 2016

Islamabad

The seven-day training programme in ‘Kashmiri Folk Crafts: Engagement with Artisans’ organised by the National Institute of Folk and Traditional Heritage (Lok Virsa) concluded here on Sunday. 

The training was part of the series of programmes that Lok Virsa is currently holding under the title 'Craft of the Month' with an objective to promote traditional skills, giving knowledge to younger generation about the importance and utility of different crafts and provide opportunity to youth to learn about Pakistan’s rich, diverse and pluralistic cultural tapestry.

The programme also encourages youth to value dignity of labour, foster ownership for their culture, create respect for different professions and character building. It helped understand the contribution of artisans in the sustainable development of their community and country at large.

Fifty children from the schools running under the administrative control of Federal Directorate of Education, Directorate General for Special Education and children of the visitors to Lok Virsa museums participated in the programme and learnt craft making techniques from master artisans.

Master artisans who imparted training to children included Shaikh Muhammad Yousuf and Gul-e-Zehra in Kashmiri embroidery and shawl, Irfan Ghulam Nabi in wood carving, Mukhtar Ahmad Dar in Kashmiri Namda and Gabba (floor rug and wall hanging), Liaquat Hussain in Kashmiri jewellery and Deeba Rana along with a group of three other ladies in the famous Kashmiri craft "Papier Mache". This group of female artisans was contributed by Potohar Organization for Development Advocacy (PODA) for the program. All these artisans possessed a vast knowledge and experience of association with their respective professions. They have been participating in national and international exhibitions and festivals.

 On the occasion, the venue of Heritage Museum was decorated with beautiful traditional Kashmiri craft items and related accessories. The accompanying teachers with children also seemed happy with this different style of teaching.

 Talking to the media, the 70-year old Shaikh Muhammad Yousuf termed this a unique experience of his life. “Children were keen to know each and everything involved in the process. I tried to transfer my knowledge to them in an interactive manner. Some children were very intelligent and they got a lot in a little time".

Deeba Rana said they have tried to create innovations in the Kashmiri papier mache craft. “It involves three stages. First is the basic where we prepare a mixture with paper ingredients, then second stage is its molding in various shapes and last stage is its painting in different colours which is called 'Naqqashi'. We have trained women in all three stages. Here at Lok Virsa we have trained 20 students from Islamabad Model School for Girls, F-7/2, and they all now are in a position to make papier mache craft items themselves".

Lok Virsa Executive Director Dr. Fouzia Saeed, said Pakistani children have a great potential to learn knowledge about our rich craft heritage. “Here we also saw little boys along with parents who were equally keen to gain information about the craft making techniques.”

 She said that the next programme will focus on 'Chunri and Kite Making' which will take place from March 1-6, 2016, marking 'Basant' celebrations. “On March 6, Lok Virsa will celebrate 'Basant' with youth providing an opportunity to the residents of Islamabad and Rawalpindi to celebrate Basant through a cultural perspective,” she added.