Loke Mela ends at high note

Islamabad – The 10-day cultural festival at Lok Virsa comes to an end Sunday entertaining thousands of visitors as artists from across the country displayed their performance what is being described as the biggest ever event held at the scenic Shakaprian hills.

Inaugurated on April 1, the Lok Mela offered a variety of entertainment, including music, folk songs, traditional products, food, embroidery and specialties of artists of the four provinces, Gilgit-Baltistan and Kashmir.According to Raess Athar, Spokesman National Institute of Folk and Traditional Heritage (Lok Virsa), more than 20,000 visitors along with families showed up at the venue in search of entertainment.

“This was the largest ever festival held at Shakarparian.
This time we invited maximum number of artists, stallholders.

The success of the event could be gauged from the fact that we generated Rs30 million as revenue in just three days of the event,” he said.He said the cultural show at Shakarparian immensely contributed towards documenting and preserving traditional folk crafts and projecting craftsmen.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 proved to be a major attraction for the visitors at Lok Mela.Over five hundred craftsmen demonstrated 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 included embroidery (Multani, Bahawalpuri, Hazara, Swat, Balochi and 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 and 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.
A statement issued here said the Lok Virsa has been 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, a number of female artisans demonstrated their skills.
The most prominent among them is 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 and rickshaws.
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 civilisation in Balochistan.
The Indus Valley civilisation of Mohenjodaro in Sindh and Harappa civilisation 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 historical and contemporary culture.
Unlike the west, most traditional crafts in Pakistan is neither profession nor hobbies, but an essential component of the diverse cultural patterns – a product of the ethnic and communal attitudes and practices.

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