October Issue 2009
Road Less Travelled
It was a long time coming, but The Crafts Tradition of Pakistan finally hit the road with a launch event at Koel Gallery. The book by Noorjehan Bilgrami was commissioned by the Export Promotion Bureau of Pakistan in 2003, and it took three years of research, writing and design for it to be completed. Sadly, the finished book was held up almost another three years by bureaucratic delays, until it finally saw the light of day under the aegis of the now renamed TDAP or Trade Development Association of Pakistan.
At the launch, Noorjehan described the adventures, the joys and sorrows that went into the making of the book. She took the road less travelled to discover crafts and craftsmen completely unknown outside their home ground, braving landslides, and all sorts of obstacles on the way. She was accompanied by a still photographer and video team, recording the crafts activity in its natural habitat. The video footage was developed into a documentary, screened at the launch.
Special guests at the book launch were two craftswomen from Badin and a craftsman from Tharparkar, who had been invited by Noorjehan and Paramount publishers. Bibi Haleema and Bibi Hajiani are farasi weavers from Badin, while Khetha Ram Sothar fashions the most exquisite tampoore from wood and metal.
Having the craftspeople there with their tremendous grace and dignity made it an event with a difference, and Koel took one more step towards bridging the gap between art and craft.
Tehmina Ahmed is a writer, photographer and filmmaker. She is a senior editor at Newsline and head of Newsline Films.