LAHORE - A two-day crafts and cultural heritage exhibition has kicked off at Tollinton Market, The Mall.

The exhibition titled ‘Auj-e-Hunar’ features local and indigenous crafts by craftsmen and artisans hailing from smaller cities.

“I come from Kot Abdul Malik, Sheikupura to exhibit brass pots. I learned the skill from my elders who brought this unique talent from Uttar Pradesh, India,” Bashir Ahmed, a craftsman told The Nation.

“It took me two to three hours to make one pot, and it was completed in two phases: I give a shape to the pot from the scratch in initial phase; Further task is done by my helper,” he added.

Another craftsman from Dera Ghazi Khan Muhammad Iqbal exhibited basketry, the craft which is practiced in suburban area of Punjab by using indigenous material. Iqbal said the products included mats, rugs, toys, bread baskets, flowers vases and hand fans.

This craft is the uniqueness of Iqbal’s family living in backward area of Rajanpur, DG Khan. Each piece was put for Rs 200 to 300.

“It is ironic when people ask us to lower down the prices but they don’t know how much effort is put to make one small piece of handicraft,” Muhammad Iqbal told The Nation.

According to Punjab Small Industries Corporation Project Director Quratulain Dil Muhammad, total 39 stalls were set up of metal craft, stone craft, camel skin products, textile, blue pottery, lacquer art, band embroidery, wood craft, Onyx, ceramic, camel bone carvings and basketry at the exhibition.

DG Walled City Lahore Authority and Chairman Board of Directors Lahore Arts Council Kamran Lashari said that Pakistan has immense potential in crafts. “The need is to exhibit their talent at such forums where they could maximum market their products,” he said while talking to The Nation.

Lashari said he had been visiting Sindh and other parts of the country and with his experience he came to know about rare talent of handicrafts in communities living there and all they need is a little push to grow them in fully-fledged crafts industry.

Some stall owners at the crafts exhibition made complaint that the air conditioners set up at Tollington Market were not functional.

Punjab Small Industries Corporation (PSIC) is a non-profit statutory organisation of Punjab government that promotes small, creative and cultural industries

The exhibition will conclude today (Sunday).q