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Craft fair displays rich heritage

Ziaul Hasan

A display of the craft fair at the Bangladesh National Museum. — Ali Hossain  MintuA display of the craft fair at the Bangladesh National Museum. — Ali Hossain Mintu

Diverse craftworks by the traditional artisans are on display at the Nalini Kanta Bhattasali Gallery of Bangladesh National Museum in Shahbagh.
Thirty nine artisans, who participated at the Setouchi International Art Festival in Japan last July, are displaying their craft works in same number of stalls at the weeklong craft fair organised by the department of ethnography and decorative art of the museum.
The fair offers a whole range of crafts made from various raw materials like brass, jute, bamboo, cane, cotton, metal, wood and other economical and easily obtainable materials.
Moreover, stalls displaying nakshi kantha, jamdani, rickshaw and truck paintings, clay artworks, traditional music instruments such as dhol and delicious pithas remind the urban audience of their rich heritage.
Crafts made by ethnic minority groups make the show a display of diverse cultural heritages of the country. 
Stitch artisan Kohinur Akter displays her skill of creating spectacular traditional embroidered quilt known as nakshi kantha. A bamboo flute maker from Jhinaidah, Kamol Chandra Sarkar, demonstrates the process of making a flute from bamboo in his stall.
The interested visitors can also get the experience of making the rhythm instrument dhol at Sib Nath Sibu’s stall at the exhibition. 
But the most exciting display at the fair is the traditional banner painter Sitesh Sur’s stall, which showcases colourful banners of Dhallywood films along with portraits of Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore, freedom fighters and beautiful women.
‘It is a very delicate work, which needs a lot of efforts. I learnt this skill from my father,’ Sur told New Age.
‘But, I don’t get any offer these days as cinema banners are digitally made. Maybe I have to leave this job,’ Sur laments.
Traditional rickshaw painter Rafiqul Islam, who is displaying his artworks at the fair, also laments as his manual technique of making paintings used on the rear of rickshaws has also been replaced by the digital techniques.   
Kanika Chakma and Ritan Chakma from Khagrachari display spectacular handloom fabrics used by the people of the ethnic community.
A remarkable number of visitors are attending the fair every day. ‘Watching so many types of craftworks under one roof is quite a pleasant experience for me,’ Rakhi, a student of Dhaka University, told New Age. 
Some of the visitors also have business interests. Rabiul Haque, a boutique shop owner from Kazipara, said that he was looking for an artisan to commission someone for his boutique shop. 
The fair which began on December 01, will be open for everybody from 12pm to 7pm till December 07.




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Craft fair displays rich heritage

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