For the first time, chic, urban craft trends enigmatically nurtured by an unusual group of Sri Lanka Lankan seniors have entered the domestic marketplace.
“We congratulate your innovative approach and wish you success in our crafts market,” Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen said at the launching of the ‘Shilpa Saviya’- Entrepreneurship Programme, Grand Finale Exhibition on 8th December in Colombo.
Chairperson of National Craft Council (NCC) Heshani Bogollagama, Chairperson of Export Development Board, Indira Malwatte, Director of NCC Chandramali Liyanage and senior craft-persons of Sri Lanka from Colombo Design Market participated in the event.
The national exhibition, along with traditional crafts, featured emerging urban crafts for the first time. Some of the urban crafts were nurtured by senior Lankan traditional craftsmen who seemed pleased to pass down their intangible knowhow downstream.
“This event is yet another important step by the government to strengthen the capacity of Sri Lanka’s crafts tradition and our craftsmen-it also focuses on developing entrepreneurial skills of our craftsmen and linking them to international buyers,” the Minister said speaking at the event.
According to Minister Bathiudeen, there are 25,000 Sri Lankan craftsmen registered with the National Crafts Council. With the support of the Council they are continuously trying to bring out new designs and creations to both local and international Markets.
Minister Bathiudeen said the Craft Council is making many efforts to develop our designs and product quality with training and taking the craftsmen to such important global destinations as Thailand, Australia and Malaysia.
“Also as per the Good Governance promise we are now ready to establish sub-craft councils. We have finalized all work on the twenty five new District Craft Councils to be established for the first time in Sri Lanka to help regional craftsmen and provide them a voice that has been not available to them in all these years. It is also important to note that 90 percent of our craftsmen are women. Therefore any support for this sector is empowering our rural women and supporting them.”
As of August 2017, the NCC reported 25,877 Lankan craftsmen under it. In October President Maithripala Sirisena at the National Shilpa Abhimani Handicrafts event by NCC, awarded 737 winning Lankan craftsmen.