LAHORE: A three-day arts and craft exhibition organised by Daachi Foundation started at the City Heritage Museum on Saturday with the objective to open up new vistas in the rich domain of art for artisans.

The annual feature of Lahore’s cultural calendar, this fifth edition of the arts and craft display with the slogan ‘Guarding Our Heritage’ has been dedicated to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Craftsmen from almost all over the country are participating in this grand show.

Organisers say the event was ticketed to attract serious buyers only.

The exhibition has been organised by Daachi Foundation, a nonprofit organisation, endeavouring to guard and promote the country’s cultural heritage, ideology and environment by sponsoring indigenous craftsmen, artists and promoting a sustainable lifestyle.

The exhibition has around 80 stalls selling arts and crafts produced by craftsmen from all over Pakistan. These include handicrafts, artifacts, textiles, jewellery, furniture, paintings, books, carpets, blue pottery, black pottery, organic food, decorative motifs, bags, and many more items.

The moving spirit behind Daachi Foundation, Ayesha Noorani, a renowned architect by profession who founded the NGO in 2010 said: “Through this yearly cultural feature we want to promote craftsmen who belong to this land.”

She said Daachi planned to construct a dedicated artisans’ village on 28 kanals on Raiwind Road with a craft bazaar, food court, museum, art gallery, mosque, staff residences and rides for children.

She said: “We feel that the best way to realise our objectives is to have a dedicated centre, which shall be able to provide all resources and infrastructure needed.”

Ayesha said this year Daachi had sponsored 12 craftsmen so they could display their skill. The venue had a broad range of handicrafts to offer.

Sara Khan, a jewellery maker, put up some appealing Turkish pieces made of brass and silver. From earrings to pendants there was a wide variety of pieces encrusted with precious and semi-precious stones.

Afshan and Noshi Ejaz had displayed some rare decorative motifs inspired by 12 historical monuments of Lahore such as Lahore Fort, Shalamar Gardens and Masjid Wazir Khan. Their stall was aptly called ‘Daughters of Lahore Walled City’. ‘Baji Kay Bastay’ was also an interesting shop displaying bags of all sizes and for several purposes. Dhani Bakhsh from Sindh was exhibiting decoration pieces made of clay.

There was a huge variety of handicrafts as well. Ambreen Fatima from Rawapindi was exhibiting colourful dolls and door bells. Hadia Khan’s stall offered organic soaps, lotions and hair oils.

The first day was a wonderland of crafts offering handmade products from districts and cities with rich traditions of craft-making.

Published in Dawn, November 9th, 2014