Shilpa 2013 kicks off in celebration of handicraft heritage

Saturday, 17 August 2013 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

By P. Waruni and G. Sajeewani The four-day national handicraft festival ‘Shilpa 2013’ was declared open by the Minister of Economic Development Basil Rajapaksa on 15 August at the Sirimavo Bandaranaike Memorial Exhibition Centre. The comprehensive showcase of world famous handicrafts of Sri Lanka as well as its heritage will be on until Sunday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Shilpa 2013 is not just a handicraft exhibition but a collection of various other features such as ‘Wisithru’ – an exhibition for new designs, the ‘Ranma’ exhibition focusing on tourism handicraft, ‘Yugayata Nimaum’ – a new design launch by the National Design Centre, an independent designers’ exhibition, a palmyrah and kithul exhibition and an art competition for schoolchildren. Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa was the Chief Guest at the opening. Officials from the Ministry of Traditional Industries and Small Enterprise Development including Minister Douglas Devananda, Deputy Minister Weerakumara Dissanayake and Secretary V. Sivagnanasothy, Minister of Education Bandula Gunawardane and Chairman of the National Craft Council Buddhi Keerthisena were also present. Minister Rajapaksa in his speech emphasised the importance of national handicrafts for the country in order to promote Sri Lanka’s culture to international markets and attract foreigners to the country. The traditional paintings and sculptures, metal-based crafts and wood-based crafts are the key highlights among the overall exhibits. The batik paintings showcased at the exhibition depicted the epic Rama-Ravana War, an event immortalised in Sri Lanka’s history. Wood-based crafts displayed were a tribute to the skill, ability and creativity of the national handicraftsmen and highlighted the importance of the growth of their products in the local and international markets. The Sri Lankan Ayurvedic Drugs Corporation, the Department of Integrated Design University of Moratuwa, the National Federation of Rush and Reed Farmers and Producers were amongst the participants at the exhibition. The Royal College Art Circle and children’s art garnered attention from the participants, especially schoolchildren.