PNCA displays textile crafts of Bahawalpur
By Mahtab Bashir
ISLAMABAD: Southern Punjab has a distinguished tradition of arts and crafts, which its people have retained in spite of the passage of time. For centuries the Punjabis are making intricate needle work, woven fans and mats, handmade bed sheets and cushions and many more handy works to choose from.
To promote this indigenous handcrafted works and develop textile industries of Bahawalpur by involving local crafts people, especially women to provide economic empowerment of the area, Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA) in collaboration with UNESCO and Punjab Small Industries Corporation (PSIC) on Tuesday held an exclusive exhibition of needle crafts from Bahawalpur at National Art Gallery (NAG).
Tauqir Nasir, PNCA, DG was the chief guest on the occasion, while Capt (r) Mazhar Hameed, Regional Manager (RM) Punjab Small Industries Corporation (PSIC) and UNESCO officials were also present on the occasion. However, because of deteriorating law and order situation, the gathering remained very thin.
All handmade items especially the needle work on textile appreciated by a number of people, who considered it a symbol of Southern Punjab culture that is effectively used as a tool for poverty alleviation on one side and promotion and development of colourful culture on the other.
UNESCO director Tarja Virtanen, who was unable to attend the ceremony because of worsening law and order situation, in her speech read out on the occasion said that Pakistan has a tremendous potential to become a leading player in the cultural industries. “The country’s rich traditions in craft and design have delighted people through generations and have become sought after items of value in world markets,” Tarja said.
She said culture is a treasure, a resource commonly available to all and free of costs, and cannot be separated, as it is the identity of a region. “Whether it is the potter working on the roadside of GT Road or a woman of Cholistan laboring diligently on their needlework, one can not help noticing and marveling at the look of pride on their faces as they are no less than Sadequain, Guljee, or Anna Molka, when they spoke of their most cherished work. She said that Norway has given them additional funds to conduct pilot activities to demonstrate the value of cultural mapping in NWFP and Punjab under the title of ‘Mapping of Cultural Assets in NWFP and the Punjab’. “Our programmes on handicrafts or cultural industries are geared towards quality assurance and providing access to the artisans to potential markets, therefore we invariably link these activities with UNESCO Awards of Excellence Programme, to encourage crafts persons” Tarja said.
PNCA DG Tauqir Nasir said that this exhibition is all about the colours of Cholistan area that has its own rich culture and tradition. “Long ago, I visited Derawar Fort and Cholistan desert, and while spending my time there, I felt different modes of colours in its ambience. The colours ranging from soft to scarlet, everything reflected diversification of cultural richness of the region,” Nasir said.
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