Amateur artisans get craft training

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ISLAMABAD, Jan 7 (APP): As many as 50 students from various educational institutions of twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad are being trained by master craftpersons in field of Block Printing here at National Institute of Folk and Traditional Heritage, Lok Virsa till January 10.

Master artisans, who are imparting training to the children include 65-year old Ameer Bukhsh in vegetable dyeing and Haji Akbar Chughtai in block printing from Karor Pacca, Punjab, Abdul Hayee in traditional Ajrak making from a remote village Jaija in Tehsil Matli, District Badin, Sindh and Syed Mutahir Hussain Bukhari in block printing from Islamabad.

All of them possess a vast knowledge and experience of association with this profession.

They have been participating in national and international exhibitions and festivals and promoting the image of Pakistan by demonstrating their skills before the foreign visiting delegates and dignitaries.

The 7-day training program for children on “Block Printing: Engagement with Artisans” is a part of the popular series of programs titled “Craft of the Month” carrying the slogan “Harnessing Culture with Education”.

It aims at focusing on a particular craft every month with major emphasis to promote traditional crafts and provide an opportunity to the youth community, who has little or no exposure to the living cultural heritage of Pakistan, to interact with artisans and learn essential craft related techniques from them.

Dr. Fouzia Saeed, Executive Director, Lok Virsa said “We have initiated this training program for students and young children around folk crafts.

We highlight one craft every month for a week and have artisans and experts available for children to engage them in creativity in a peaceful and interactive environment.

These craft-persons not only display their crafts and make them in front of the people but also teach children and have materials for them to experiment with the medium.”

The program aims at creating a link between culture and education, encouraging youth to value dignity of labour, fostering ownership for their culture, inculcating respect for different professions and character building, helping understand the contributions of craftspeople in the sustainable development of their community and engaging students in creative works by providing them opportunities to learn crafts from artisans.

It also recognizes the hard work of artisans associated with various crafts to ensure continuity of the crafts from generation to generations and document, promote and preserve the crafts of Pakistan.

Block printing evolved at an early date as the most ancient techniques are still practiced in Sindh where cotton textile industry and the art of dyeing developed at the time of Indus valley civilization.

In the 1st century, terracotta stamps used for printing textiles were excavated in Taxila.

Punjab appeared as vestiges of craft that was so widespread that most villages had their own block printers.

Lahore remains one of the largest commercial centers of block printing.

Heavy fabric for upholstery and drapery are marked widely.

The block prints depict animals, birds and floral patterns in arched frames with traditional color combinations of Mughal architecture, the organizers said.