By Paranagamage Waruni and Gunamala Sajeewani
The National Crafts Council (NCC) will hold Shilpa 2013 under the theme ‘Celebrating Sri Lanka handicraft’s heritage’ from 15 to 18 August at the BMICH.
Functioning under the aegis of the Ministry of Traditional Industries and Small Enterprises Development, NCC said the event is expected attract a large number of exhibitors and buyers and be a big boost for the handicraft industry.
NCC Chairman Buddhi Keerthisena emphasised that Shilpa 2013 is not just only a festival but also a very good opportunity to promote handicrafts among people locally, regionally and internationally, especially in the tourism industry.
At previous Handicrafts Exhibition and Trade Fairs, more than 1,500 national level craft persons participated and visitors exceeded 20,000.
“For the upcoming event, we expect around 40,000 visitors,” said Keerthisena at a press conference which was also attended by Deputy Minister of Traditional Industries and Small Enterprise Development Weerarakumara Dissanayake.
He said the Shilpa National Exhibition and Award Ceremony for handicraft people and small industrialists has been organised as an annual event to popularise the products of traditional handicraftsmen and small industrialists, and to provide them an opportunity to showcase and exhibit their creative products and processes, giving the producers an opportunity to market their products directly through trade stalls.
Providing trade stalls to the producers helps avoid exploitation by middlemen. Moreover, the recognition of creative products by the handicraftsmen and small industrialists through the national
awards has helped strengthen the sector,” Keerthisena said.
He added that at Shilpa 2012, 321 products were selected as national level winners (including two gold awards and 12 silver awards) among 1,527 creations which were recognised as provincial winning crafts. The income from the trade fair exceeded Rs. 15 million and over 50 new designs were introduced to the market.
Pix by Daminda Harsha Perera