The annual Lok Mela festival is scheduled to kick off at Lok Virsa on Friday. Minister for Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage Pervaiz Rasheed will inaugurate the festival.
The 10-day festival features folk and cultural performances, indigenous arts and crafts, artisans-at-work exhibitions, musicals nights, provincial governments’ cultural pavilions in an all-encompassing display of cultural heritage and traditions.
Around 500 artisans and cultural performers from across the country will participate in the festival. “The festival is an effort to highlight, document and promote our indigenous cultures and some sub-cultures which are often neglected even within provinces,” said Dr Fouzia Saeed, the institute’s executive director, while addressing a press conference on Wednesday.
Saeed further said that the festival offers a platform for visitors to engage with the artisans and performers in a community setting. Geared at the preservation and promotion of the folk culture that is often side-stepped on mainstream media, the festival also caters to enlightening youth about the local traditions.
Saeed emphaised on enabling the youth to get better acquainted with the country’s rich cultural diversity, so that they may appreciate and celebrate it.
Accompanied by the Lok Virsa Museum Director Sajeela Naveed and Lok Virsa Deputy Director Sajid Munir, Saeed said that this year a Chitral pavilion, which will include musicians and scholars from the Kelash region, will be an additional feature of the festival.
Naveed underscored that a pavilion will be set up by the museum to focus on crafts that are facing decline in the country.
She said the pavilion will not only showcase these crafts but also enable youngsters to work towards preserving them. The dying crafts include ivory work, katha weaving, wood carving and metal work from different provinces.
Munir said that aside from the four provinces, cultural displays and performances from Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan are also a part of the programme.
Saeed said that security arrangements have been increased three-fold for the event. “Everyone including the media personnel will be searched at the entrance and the entry gates have been placed a distance from the main activities.”
Published in The Express Tribune, April 2nd, 2015.
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