President urges commercial appreciation of folk artists, craftsmen


ISLAMABAD, Nov 15 (APP):President Dr Arif Alvi Sunday said that while promoting the country’s cultural heritage, it was also a must to focus the commercial appreciation of the folk artists and craftsmen who kept the culture alive.

Addressing the award distribution ceremony among artists and craftsmen who participated in 10-day Lok Mela concluded here on the day, the president said Pakistan was rich with cultural heritage particularly the Buddhist artifacts.

He said the folk culture and artifacts also attracted the tourists as mostly the tourists were interested in visiting the buildings and heritage sites to judge the nation’s history as well as the development.

The ceremony was attended by First Lady Samina Alvi, Secretary of National Heritage and Culture Division Nosheen Javed, Executive Director Lok Virsa Talha Ali Khan Kushvah besides artists from across the country.

The president said the faith-based restrictions for Muslims on drawing pictures led to the promotion of geometric art which also introduced a distinctive Islamic architecture like arches supporting huge domes and buildings.

The president who also distributed cash awards among the artists and craftsmen and shields among the officials, said the influx of Sufis and conquerors like Muhammad Bin Qasim further enriched the local culture by enhancing the diversity.

He said that taking advantage of the available space at Lok Virsa, the frequency of Lok Mela-like activities should be enhanced for encouragement as well as the commercial uplift of the artists.

The president also offered a lobby of the Aiwan-e-Sadr for curation with artworks for promotion of art and cultural heritage through the visiting high profile dignitaries.

He said the government alone could not promote the art and culture rather it required the activities like exhibitions and fairs like Lok Mela, though he observed that the nostalgia was also driving the people back to local culture and art.

Earlier, in her address, Secretary National Heritage Nosheen Javed said for last four decades, Lok Mela was providing forum to the folk artists and local craftsmen to exhibit and sale their products who otherwise had been badly affected in the technological era.

Besides locals, the Lok Mela was also a huge attraction for the diplomats because being a blend of all regional colors, arts and performances, it gave a look of Mini Pakistan.

Executive Director Lok Virsa Talha Ali called for promotion of local culture and embracing the diversity for social integration.

He sought government’s attention for huge investment and attention for social engineering of the society and protection of future generation against the onslaught of alien cultures.

Earlier, clad in traditional dresses, over a dozen artists from all the regions, performed on folk music and through traditional musical instruments and won applause.