An exhibition promotes crafts made by women – Journal

Craftswomen embroidering at the exhibition in Islamabad on Friday. The other photo shows First Lady Samina Alvi inaugurating the event. — Photos by Tanveer Shahzad

ISLAMABAD: First Lady Begum Samina Alvi on Friday opened a two-day exhibition titled Embroidering Dreams which showcased exceptional handicrafts made by women across Pakistan.

The exhibition was organized by Behbud Crafts Association in collaboration with Islamabad Serena Hotel.

Begum Alvi expressed his support for the wonderful work done by the Behbud Association. The inauguration ceremony brought together a wide range of people, including members of the diplomatic community, the business sector and civil society.

Behbud, an organization run entirely by volunteer women, has over the years become a leading brand for ethnic and sustainable fashion. Inaugurated in 1972, it is a non-profit organization that focuses on empowering women.

Abida Malik, President of the Behbud Association, said: “We are very grateful to Serena Hotels for inviting us to organize this exhibition.

This company aims to promote handicrafts from Pakistan and the more we sell, the more work these women get. As long as entities like Serena continue to support us, these women will have growing livelihoods. These women stay at home and are skilled in these trades and we believe that if we don’t support them, these trades will disappear.

Ayur from Kazakhstan said: “This is our first year in Pakistan. I am very interested in this culture and these traditions. They are beautiful and of course I have already bought some.

“Kazakhstan is also a Muslim country and these clothes are appropriate for a Muslim country. We also promote traditional handicrafts in Kazakhstan. In fact, next week we will go to the Behbud Center where these dresses are made because we are so interested,” she said, expressing surprise at the reasonable price of the handmade items.

Sophia Pathma said: “I think all the products are really beautiful – fine and handmade – and by coming here we are able to support women. The range of these designs appeals to both local and Western tastes.

Exhibits included exceptional couture outfits and accessories, linens like guest towels, tray and mat sets, napkins, shawls and dupattas. The range of techniques used covered much of Pakistan, along with the associated patterns and colors.

From exquisite Kantha embroidery with beautiful designs of flora, fauna, birds and geometric shapes done in running stitches to Sindhi quilting and appliqué, from shadow work to block printing, cutting and stitching of crosses, the exhibition is a testimony to the country’s immensely talented craftsmen.

Zara Ameen said, “Behbud always has great items for gifts and for use in her own home. I find myself picking up all sorts of little things to keep in my gift box and the ornate envelopes for cash. The best thing is that the fabrics and threads used are of good quality and you never have to worry about the colors running out and the fabric tearing.

Speaking on the occasion, the General Manager of Serena Hotels, Aziz Bolani said that Pakistan is blessed with so much talent in making traditional handicrafts.

Posted in Dawn, November 12, 2022