Amateur artisans learn art of Block Printing

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ISLAMABAD, Jan 4 (APP): As many as 50 amateur artisans and students started the training of Block Printing here Monday to learn the art from masters in the filed at National Institute of Folk and Traditional Heritage, Lok Virsa.

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. Four programs under this series, i.e. Truck Art, Pottery, Doll Making and Weaving have already been organized.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Senator Nuzhat Sadiq commended the efforts of Lok Virsa for promoting and projecting the cultural heritage of Pakistan with a large scale participation and mobility of children and students.

She said “Children are our future. Lok Virsa has taken the right step to inculcate awareness among them about our folk crafts and other living traditions. We all should support such an important initiative.”

This training program will go a long way in preserving the centuries old craft tradition of block printing in Pakistan, which has linkage to the ancient civilizations of Moenjodaro and Harappa, she maintained.

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 we 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”.

It will give them a hands on opportunity to become familiar with the folk crafts, she added.

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 is also an effort to recognize 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.

The participating children belong to various schools and colleges working under the administrative control of Federal Directorate of Education (FDE).

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 opening ceremony was followed by live folk musical cultural performances. While certificates were also awarded to the participants of the last program on “weaving”.

For block printing in Pakistan, Lahore remains one of the largest commercial centres 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.