Jamdani Festival underway at Bengal Shilpalay | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, September 08, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:29 PM, September 08, 2019

Jamdani Festival underway at Bengal Shilpalay

National Crafts Council of Bangladesh and Bengal Foundation jointly organised a five-week Jamdani Festival, a celebration of the proud heritage of Jamdani weaving in Bangladesh, demonstrating the outstanding skills and the artistic finesse of our weavers. Under the title Oitijjher Binirman, the festival has been arranged in association with the World Crafts Council. The Bangladeshi partners of the festival are Aarong, Aranya, Tangail Saree Kutir and Kumudini. 

Education Minister Dr Dipu Moni inaugurated the festival as the chief guest at Bengal Shilpalay in Dhanmondi on Friday. Narayanganj City Corporation Mayor, Dr Selina Hayat Ivy and President of the World Crafts Council Asia-Pacific Region, Dr Ghada Hijjawi-Qaddumi attended the inaugural ceremony as special guests. The President of the National Crafts Council of Bangladesh, Md Rafiqul Islam, chaired the programme.

Luva Nahid Choudhury, Director General, Bengal Foundation, delivered the welcome address on the occasion. She, on behalf of the festival organisers, proposed to the World Crafts Council tio grant Sonargaon the status of ‘World Crafts City’. Dr Dipu Moni reiterated the proposal to the President of the World Crafts Council, and ensured her full support for the good cause, on behalf of her ministry and the government at large. Moreover, Dr Selina Hayat Ivy proposed to hold such a festival in Narayanganj where she, on behalf of her city corporation, would like to help arrange the festival.

The festival curator, Chandra Shekhar Shaha, also spoke at the programme. He credited two individuals -- Ruby Ghuznavi, former president of National Crafts Council of Bangladesh and Abul Khair, chairman of Bengal Foundation, for holding the two-year long research-based Jamdani festival.

Following the speeches by the guests, Executive Director of Bengal Publications, Abul Hasnat, along with Ruby Ghuznavi and Abul Khair, took to the stage for the launching ceremony of the book, marking the unique festival.    

To honour the highly talented master weavers and apprentices for their skills and contributions to the craft, the Mastercraftspersons Award ceremony took place on the opening day. The chief guest, along with the special guests, handed over awards to the recipients – Ustad Md Sajib Hossain and his assistant Md Anowar Hossain; Md Motalib and his assistant Nur Alam; Md Munir and his assistant Abu Bakar; Ustad Md Siddique and his assistant Maksuda; Md Jamal and his assistant Shakil, at the event.

An exhibition showcasing reproductions of century old Jamdani fabrics and sarees, as well as original antiques lent from museums and private collections from Bangladesh and abroad, is underway at Bengal Shilpalay.

The festival also includes screening of 4 short films, exploring the designs and weaving process of Jamdani, and the life of a weaver. Live demonstrations by weavers were also shown at the premises. A seminar discussing the past, present and future of Jamdani was held yesterday at Women’s Voluntary Association’s (WVA) Auditorium, Dhanmondi. 

Jamdani is one of the finest muslin textiles in Bengal, a proud heritage of the Bangladeshi weavers of Sonargaon, Rupganj and Siddhirganj in the Narayanganj district. It reached its pinnacle of excellence during the 16th century, under the patronage of Mughal Emperors, and its motifs are said to have been inspired by weavers to resemble local flora and fauna.

The National Crafts Council of Bangladesh and Bengal Foundation, in an attempt to restore the Jamdani to its original prestige, organised the Jamdani Festival as a celebration of the proud heritage of Jamdani in Bangladesh, and the skill shared by its weavers.

The exhibition, opening from 12 noon to 8 pm every day, except Sundays, will continue until October 12. 

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