Visual treat of Indian handicrafts, calligraphy in Cairo

Cairo, April 18 (IANS) Indian handicraft and calligraphy are being showcased in the Egyptian capital through a week-long exhibition, aimed at highlighting India’s great written heritage.

This exhibition of visual arts named “Akshara” is being organised by the Embassy of India in collaboration with Teamwork productions at the Hanager Arts Centre here from April 15-21, an official release said.

Akshara – Crafting Indian Scripts, is an exhibition of over 100 museum-quality exhibits created by Dastkari Haat Samiti, a non-profit national association of crafts people. The exhibition showcases India’s great written heritage by focusing on calligraphy through craft forms in multi-faceted ways.

Handcrafted applications of scripts on metal, carved and inlaid wood, clay, stone, pottery and stone ware, embroidered and woven textiles, and different areas of traditional art including block printing, and a variety of lesser known forms of folk art have been displayed.

Rajeev Kumar, an Indian calligrapher, has a display of Indian calligraphy in many scripts and techniques.

An art film named “Aksharakaram” combining classical movements in dance with calligraphy with well-known dancers Navtej Johar and Justin McCarthy and calligrapher Rajeev Kumar will be part of the exhibition.

The main person behind the whole event is former Samata Party president, Jaya Jaitly, who founded Dastkari Haat Samiti, which enables traditional workers in gaining confidence in the marketplace through many innovative strategies.

She has an intimate knowledge of the craft traditions of the country, having worked in the field for over 40 years.

Speaking after the inauguration of the exhibition, Ambassador of India Navdeep Suri said, “The focus of the India by the Nile festival is on forging meaningful and sustainable collaborations between India and Egypt in the field of arts and crafts.

“The canvas produced jointly by an Indian and Egyptian calligrapher is an example of this.

He said Jaitly would also be sharing her extensive experience with Heba Handoussa and the Egypt Network for Integral Development (ENID) and with different groups of Egyptian artisans.

“I am sure that this will create a strong platform for sharing of skills and experiences in the development of handicrafts, which are such an important source of livelihood for millions of Indians.”

The festival is presented by TCI Sanmar chemicals SAE, the largest Indian investor in Egypt. The main sponsors of the event are the Kirloskars, the Aditya Birla Group and the Indian Council for Cultural Relations.

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