by Syed Shadab Ali Gillani
SRINAGAR: In the about-to-conclude, G20 summit Tourism Working Group (TWG) meeting, the handicrafts from Kashmir and Jammu stole the show literally. The government had organised a special exhibition showcasing the exceptional talent and skills of artisans and craftsmen from Kashmir and Jammu.
The exhibition within the Srinagar’s SKICC featured numerous stalls displaying a variety of Kashmiri handicrafts, including Pashmina shawls, Silk carpets, Wood carving, Papier machie, and Copperware and Basohli paintings. It also showcased the processes involved in making of these crafts. Various delegates visited the exhibition, interacted with the artisans and took the basic knowledge about how the real Kashmir crafts are different from the fake.
Participation in the event made them happy even though sale was not motive. Umer Kumhar, a young glazed pottery artisan from Kashmir, expressed his enthusiasm about the occasion.
“It’s a great occasion for Kashmir artisan community. Many people were inspired by this art form, and I also received orders,” Umer said. “These occasions provide us access to the global market and help create demand for our products.” He emphasized the need for more events like.
The participating artisans consider the government’s initiative as a positive step towards promoting Kashmir’s arts and crafts. They believe that such events should be organized more frequently to attract attention from around the world and support the development of the region’s art and craft industry.
Bashir Ahmed, a wicker weaver from Ganderbal district in central Kashmir, was also part of the exhibition. His project is funded by the World Bank.
“Many people from different parts of the world who came here, got to know about this craft, which is very unique,” Ahmad said. “All of them were appreciative of our work and looked quite impressed.”
An artisan from Basoli Jammu, specialising in painting, shared his positive experience. “We are getting great response from everyone. The Department of Handicrafts and Handloom has given us this opportunity, and I am giving live demonstrations to people here,” he said. “We are hopeful that more people will be impressed by our creativity and craftsmanship, which will help our art and craft reach the international market.”
The artisans firmly believe that this exhibition will not only provide support but also open doors for numerous job opportunities in Jammu and Kashmir. They are hopeful that this event will bring them significant benefits and contribute to the growth and recognition of their art and craft industry.
Also on display were the countless products that the women are making through state-sponsored livelihood mission scheme. The participants said they feel encouraged by the response they got.