Director H&H Kashmir leads 9th edition of Craft Safari
SRINAGAR: The Director Handicrafts & Handloom Kashmir today led a team of departmental officers, intellectuals, Academic Scholars, Journalists, Tour operators, students, and people from other fields for the 9th edition of Craft Safari through the narrow lanes of Nallahmar where the old houses, hand-made items, and creative outputs narrate the tales of craftsmanship.
Nallahmar area has witnessed numerous artisans whose skills are a repository of craft tradition and today’s craft safari, was focused on highlighting various crafts, including Wood Carving, Kani weaving, Pashmina Weaving, Namda Aari Work, Crewel Chain Stitch, and copperware. The onlookers were elated during the journey to reminisce by diving deep into the process of the artifacts being brought to life by the artisans who have been responsible for the preservation of the art over the centuries.
The team started today’s safari from the unit of Muneer Ahmad Mattoo who is a pioneer in the field of wood carving and has carved some amazing patterns on the walnut wood, which separate him from many individuals in this trade. The team proceeded to the Kani Shawl unit of Naseer Ahmad Mir who owns the pride of being awarded a National Award by the President of India for his exceptional skills in Kani Shawl making. Naseer has been manufacturing Kani shawls for the last 27 years and his skills of masterful manipulation of threads on needles have no equal.
Javaid Ahmad Malik who has been creating hugely acclaimed pashmina shawls was the next point of attraction for today’s safari. The shawls he produces are sought all over the world and he has been evolving his designs to keep up with the constantly evolving needs of the market that have changed dramatically over the years. The team treaded through the narrow lanes to the workplace of Ghulam Nabi Malik who has started his journey of Namda making thirty years ago and credits his father for teaching him the skill.
Farooq Ahmad Bhat from Arampora, Nawakadal has been working in the crewel craft for the last seven decades was the next focus of attraction for today’s safari. Farooq has been drawing intricate and one-of-a-kind patterns which are used in specific hand-made customizable designs for crewel embroidered objects. The safari concluded at the unit of Bilal Ahmad War who is capable of producing the most beautiful copper Chinars, Bowls, Taesh-naer, Trays, and Samovars. Over the course of more than three decades, he has perfected his talents to the point that he is able to create one-of-a-kind sculptures and come up with one-of-a-kind engraving designs.
Speaking on the occasion, the Director Handicrafts & Handloom Kashmir, Mahmood Ahmad Shah, said that in today’s mechanised age, handicrafts and handloom remind us of our rich heritage and the skill of our artisans and weavers and the purpose of craft safaris is to highlight the talent of our weavers and artisans, who are fighting for their survival. The popularity and sheer skill of our handicrafts and handloom have been acknowledged the world over so we are bound to encourage the community of artisans to continue with their legacy and give them more platforms to showcase their products, he said.
Since Srinagar has been recognized as UNESCO’s Creative City in the field of Craft and Folk Art in the UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN) the department has taken the help of social media influencers and tourist players to promote the crafts stories to attract people across the globe to buy them, besides the tourist players, who host lakhs of tourists every year in the state, can lead the tourists directly to the workplaces of the genuine artisans. On-the-spot registration cards were also distributed among the artisans during the craft safari.