Islamabad - After showcasing richness and diversity of Pakistan’s cultural heritage for ten consecutive days, Folk Mela organised by the National Institute of Folk and Traditional Heritage (Lok Virsa) concluded here at Shakarparian on Sunday.

The Lok Mela focused on provincial harmony and national integration by highlighting the contribution of artisans and folk artists in the growth and prosperity of the country. The event was aimed at reviving endangered traditional arts of Pakistan. It provided an opportunity to craftspeople not only to display their workmanship but also to sell their products to public without the involvement of middleman. The Mela also afforded an opportunity to the diplomatic community and residents of twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi together with adjoining areas to witness authentic folk musical and cultural entertainment, besides buying traditional items of daily use.

The Lok Mela 2015 was dedicated to the dying crafts of Pakistan wherein twenty-one artisans representing different provinces/regions showcased their work. The objective of setting up this unique pavilion was to apprise the young generation of the richness of Pakistan’s heritage and to garner support from various NGOs to finance the artisans whose contribution towards safeguarding the cultural heritage is immense. The dying crafts focused in the exhibition included ivory and camel bone, camel skin work, paper thin pottery, Khes, Lungi, block making, metal work, blue pottery, Farasi, Khatta weaving, Taghar, Sharma or Paloos, Namda or Yigin, musical instruments (Dhamboora and Saroz), Chitrali and Kashmiri wood work.

All the four provinces and Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan fully participated in the Mela by presenting their beautiful indigenous culture, arts, crafts, music and cuisine in specially designed pavilions symbolizing their respective historical monuments, contributing art, music and entertainment activities. Around 500 artisans, folk artists, musicians, performers and folk dance groups from all parts of the country participated in the Lok Mela.

The Chitral/Kalash Pavilion was also set up for this first time in the Mela which featured folk artists, musicians and dancers. The pavilion remained centre for attractions for the visitors due to unique culture and traditions attached to the area.

Cash awards of around Rs 300,000 were distributed among the winning master artisans and folk artists in recognition of their talent in two separate ceremonies held on April 8 and 11, 2015 graced by Chief Minister Balochistan Dr Abdul Malik Baloch and secretary ministry of information, broadcasting and national heritage respectively.