Bangladesh Folk Art and Crafts Foundation: Promoting Traditional Arts and Crafts Since 1996

A craftsman makes horse with wood at the craft fair held at the Folk Art and Crafts Foundation, Sonargaon in Narayanganj © New Age

A month-long crafts fair featuring various craft items made by artisans from different corners Bangladesh was organized at the Bangladesh Folk Art and Crafts Foundation in Sonargaon, Narayanganj. The fair was inaugurated by Cultural Affairs Minister Asaduzzaman Noor on 12 January 2018; it ended on 14 February.

With the aim of promoting crafts and craftsmen of Bangladesh, the fair displayed diverse craft items made with wood, clay, brass, fabrics, and many other materials in a total of 180 stalls. “The foundation has been organising the month-long fair annually since 1996 to promote crafts made by the rural artisans. The fair gives craftsmen and artisans the opportunity to display and sell their items and connect with buyers,” said Rabindra Gope, Director of Bangladesh Folk Art and Crafts Foundation.

To urge the private sector to come forward to support the crafts industry, Asaduzzaman Noor said, “Bangladesh has a vibrant crafts industry. Shital pati and jamdani weaving have been recognised as intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO. We need to promote our crafts and artisans to ensure the survival of our traditional crafts industry.”

Around sixty artisans from across the country demonstrated various craft-making techniques at the fair. Visitors thronged the fair premises on the opening day, which featured beautiful decorative items, crafts, fabrics and other items like shital pati from Sylhet region, shokher hari and masks from Rajshahi, clay and brass crafts from Dhaka, and jamdani and nakshikantha from Sonargaon.

Apart from visiting different stalls that sold traditional craft items, visitors also enjoyed nightly traditional cultural performances like baul gaan, pala gaan, kobigaan, and jatra. Abdul Kuddus Boyati, Samir Baul, and Aynal Haque Baul, to name a few, entertained the audience with traditional songs. For children, the fair offered nagordola, bioscope, and a puppet show.