ISLAMABAD  – The artistically designed pavilion of Punjab province is a source of attraction for visitors here at ongoing Lok Mela that introduces the visitors with a wide range of colourful and dazzling crafts along with vibrant and energetic traditional folk music of the area.
Providing an ideal opportunity to experience the cultural diversity of the country, the folk festival of Pakistan will continue till April 15 to attract a large number of people every day.
All provinces have some thing exclusive to offer to the visitors and every pavilion is truly a window to the cultural diversity that exists within each area, said Khalid Javaid, Executive Director Lok Virsa.
Keeping alive the spirit of funfair and festivity, the Punjab pavilion depicts the indigenous folk culture, arts, crafts, traditional cuisine and folk music and entertainment.
The pavilion welcome visitors with more than fifty master craftsmen and craftswomen, seen sitting in the artistically set up stalls practicing centuries’ old traditional crafts including bone work, lacquer art (jundri ka kaam), Multani blue tiles, tie and dye, block printing, wood carving, darree weaving, khaddar weaving, basketry, pottery, embroidery, zardozi, metal work, camel bone carving, okair sazi, shoe (khussa), needle work, etc.
Several female artisans are also attending the festival, giving a sense of gender equality among the rural class.
Among major attractions, is the stall of Malukan Bibi, Gindi - a traditional appliqué work also known as ralli in Sindh province, with a difference that more bright colours are used in making the Gindi. Zainab Bibi and Kaneez Fatima are craftswomen of basketry from Shah Jewna, Jhang. They create their masterpieces from date palm leaves. In another stall, Samina and Shaheen are found busy in making beautiful embroideries to be used for women’s dresses.
Surraya from Kehror Pakka makes traditional chunri (tie and dye work) with its tiny details and dark colours like maroon, green, yellow and red. Among these craftswomen, the most prominent one is Hajan Fateh Bibi from Shah Jewna in district Jhang. The seventy-year-old is an expert in basket weaving.
She weaves many colourful items like baskets, changer, hand-fans, women’s footwear, chhaaj (grain separator) etc.
Male artisans in the Punjab pavilion have equally created exquisite handicrafts. The outstanding among them is Ameer Bukhsh, who is an expert in natural dyes. The ancient art of wooden block making has its centres in the lower Indus valley encompassing southern Punjab and all of Sindh.
He has not only trained his family members but also imparted training to many artisans in other crafts of textile.
Riaz Ahmed Mughal, an educated, young but accomplished master artisan of wood lacquer work. He is from Silanwali, Sargodha, which is known for wood based crafts. His father and grandfather are included amongst the craftsmen who pioneered this art in the sub-continent.
He creates fine pieces ranging from vases, decorative plates, table lamps, clocks, etc. His masterpieces are being used in corporate sector as souvenirs. He has participated in a number of exhibitions, art festivals and fairs and received many awards.
A performance pit has been created in the centre of the Punjab pavilion. Folk singers and musicians entertain the visitors throughout the day with the loud beating of the dholi (drums) in their gaudiest costumes, which is the characteristic of Punjabi traditions . Famous among folk artists is Bashir Lohar who is performing for various cultural programmes for the last twenty years.