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‘Truck art’ programme hopes to connect education and culture

September 12, 2015

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Various truck art pieces on display at the Lok Virsa on Friday. – Photos by Mian Khursheed
Various truck art pieces on display at the Lok Virsa on Friday. – Photos by Mian Khursheed

ISLAMABAD: To create acceptance and respect for Pakistan’s cultural diversity, Lok Virsa brought together children and ‘truck art’ artisans in a week-long engagement titled ‘Truck Art: Engagement with Artisans Programme’.

‘Craft of the month’ is a new strategy by Lok Virsa that aims to groom and direct children by instilling within them an appreciation for their culture and heritage.

To this end, Lok Virsa invited six truck art artisans to teach children the skill that goes into painting sphinxes, lions, tigers, peacocks, historical buildings and other staples of truck art.

The concluding ceremony of the programme took place on Friday, and displayed the results of children from three schools. The event was held at the Heritage Museum, Lok Virsa, at Shakarparian.

Participants were from the Islamabad Model Colleges for Girls, G-6/1-3, and G-9/2, and from Pakistan Sweet Homes.

Over 50 children between six and 13 participated in the programme, where they were taught by established masters of the style, Habibur Rehman, Khalidur Rehman, Mohammad Farid, Mohammad Abid, Mohammad Ijaz and Mohammad Younus.

Colourful art, singing, dancing, storytelling and other activities by the students was followed by a live folk music performance featuring professional folk artists and musicians.

Brightly coloured pottery, lanterns and tiles painted by the children in typical truck art fashion were displayed.

Many of the items featured paintings of rickshaws, trucks, doves, parrots and tigers.

More than 200 students from schools in Islamabad and Rawalpindi attended the ceremony alongside their teachers and families. Children were awarded participation certificates for the programme.

The Federal Directorate of Education and Pakistan Baitul Mal collaborated with Lok Virsa to send students to truck art training classes.

Lok Virsa Executive Director Dr Fouzia Saeed said: “The strategy is to make museums lively places, especially for children. We have planned activities to engage children for the entire year. The truck art workshop will be followed by doll making and block printing, amongst others.”

She explained that the programme’s objectives include fostering the link between culture and education, teaching students to value the dignity of labour, encouraging ownership of their culture, instilling respect for different professions and character building.

“This will help children understand the contributions of artisans to the sustainable development of their community and their country,” Saeed said.

The Kisakhani Bazaar festival, which will feature instrumental performances on the rubab, will also be held at Lok Virsa in the coming week.

Published in Dawn September 12th, 2015

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