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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

First International Festival Of Islamic Artisans At Work

Lok Virsa (The National Institute of Folk and Traditional Heritage) is respected internationally as a research institution for preservation of the folk and traditional culture of Pakistan. This organization, working under the Federal Ministry of Culture, was established in 1974 in pursuance of the Resolution of the UNESCO Conference held at Yogjakarta, Indonesia in 1972. It functions more or less on the same pattern as the prestigious Smithsonian Institution of Washington, D.C. U.S.A.
Since its inception, Lok Virsa has been working towards the salvation of our crafts threatened by social and economic change. From small scale craft bazaars, Lok Virsa succeeded in organizing a first full-fledged Lok Mela (Artisans-at-Work festival) in 1983. Since then, Lok Mela has become an annual feature and central to the work of Lok Virsa.
The festival has gained international recognition. Besides participation from SAARC Member Countries and Iran, it has acquired an international flavour which has found endorsement from the World Crafts Council, Asia-Pacific Zone.
The Rabat Conference of Islamic Countries proposed to hold the First Islamic Festival of Artisans at Work in Pakistan. The Government of Pakistan has endorsed the decision.
In implementation of this decision, Lok Virsa, Pakistan in collaboration with Research Centre for Islamic History, Art & Culture, Istanbul, Turkey, the World Crafts Council, Asia Pacific Zone and UNESCO, Paris is organizing the INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL from October 7-15, 1994 at Islamabad.
A grand Folkloric Parade is organized on the main Jinnah Avenue to mark the inaugural of the festival. Colourful floats, folk-songs, dances and costumes will be displayed. The master artisans from Central Asia will be honoured in the ceremony of \'Dastarbandi\' by the head of the state. The Prime Minister, the President, Heads of Armed Forces and all important members of the government are likely to attend.
A exotic Craft Bazaar is established. National organizations are to set up pavilions and are participating with full force.
A number of VIPs including Secretary General, 010, Deputy Director-General, UNESCO, Ministers for Culture of the 010 Countries, Director-General, IRCICA (Turkey), have already confirmed participation in the inaugural programme.
A 50-member delegation of Muslim China will come by the traditional Silk route and has been confirmed to participate in the Silk Route Pavilion.
A 150-member entourage of craftsmen and scholars from the Central Asian Republics has confirmed participation.
A large contingent of the Iranian Handicrafts Organization has confirmed participation and will set up a grand stall of Iran products.
A 25-member group of scholars and organizers from Paris UNESCO has confirmed participation.
The International Organization of Folk Art in Vienna has con-firmed to set up stall on the occasion.
A 50-member contingent of the World Crafts Council from the Asia Pacific Region will hold 18th Asian Assembly during the festival.
30 well known scholars in Islamic art and 6 organizers of IRCICA (Turkey) have already confirmed participation.
Innumerable other confirmations have already been received from individual institutions and scholars from all over the world.
This will be an internationally important and one of the most prestigious cultural events ever organized by Pakistan.
To commemorate the occasion Pakistan Post is issuing a stamp of Rs. 2/- denomination on October 7, 1994.