The Artisane – Art & Cultural Centre, an off-shoot of the house of Ali Shah, on Saturday organised a rare felicitation programme, Karigar-e-Zaman, at Tangmarg’s Kunzer to put a spotlight on the invisible hands and little-known faces behind the master pieces created over decades in Kashmir.
Karigar-E-Zaman is an attempt to celebrate master craftspeople and their contribution to the art and craft of Kashmir. Karigar-E-Zaman is the story of heights achieved by our artisans and the little acknowledgement. It is to give recognition to the unsung heroes rightly called as Karigar-E-Zaman meaning master craftspeople of our times and to debunk the false story of our decline. Their felicitation is the beginning of a new dawn and new success story for Kashmir’s art,” said Mehboob Iqbal Shah representing Artisane – Art & Cultural Centre.
Artisane – Art & Cultural Centre’s other co-founders Arif Shah and Adil Shah were also present on the occasion.
The felicitation session was attended by Mahmood Shah, Director, Handicrafts and Handloom Kashmir, Dr. Javid Ahmad Wani, Director NIFT, Srinagar; and Saleem Beg, Convener Head, INTACH J&K chapter.
“Our craftspeople drive the glorious heritage and aesthetics along with with values of our family and we honour their unparalleled skill and effort by providing them a platform to rejuvenate and showcase their masterpieces. ARTISANE – Art & Cultural Centre is putting in unalloyed effort in creating signature hand-made artefacts for more than a century, a legacy true to its name,” Iqbal Shah said.
He also expressed his gratitude to the guests for their presence in this initiative by Artisane – Art & Cultural Centre, where the aim is to celebrate and glorify the spirit of craftspeople; our unsung heroes and continue to “safeguard the art and artisans in our own small way, so that it stays our meeras for future generations to take pride in.”
Master craftspeople, who have been dedicated to multiple crafts that are unique to Kashmir, also showcased their works, which were reflective of the ethos and sublime sensibilities honed over the centuries by the place. These craftspeople shared their stories of passion, dedication and motivation to keep Kashmir at the top of the craft ladder not only in the country but across the world. The artisans recollected and narrated stories of being part of Karkhans, the famous weaving centre Karkhan is the place where the interaction happens. Artisans come to Artisane – Art & Cultural Centre and work at Karkhana all day long. For them, it’s a work space where they also interact with visiting buyers.
The three master artisans who are associated with art & craft since long were felicitated on the occasion.
Aslam Ahmad, who has worked as a sozni artisan for over 50 years, said, “Our family has been associated with the craft for centuries. Our forefathers handed over the knowledge and we have passed it on to the next generation”.
Nazeer Ahmad, a carpet weaver from Rainwari, said, “I was in Class 2 when I started working as a weaver. I was able to marry off my two sisters and four brothers from the money earned from the craft. My children are in school and also have respect for the craft.”