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Uzbekistan showcases its colours.

MUSCAT: With the International Festival for Arts, Heritage and Creativity opening at the Qurum Natural Park, the Muscat Festival is wearing an even more colourful look.

Being run in association with the International Congress on Innovation and Creativity in Arts and Crafts, this village is a focal point for showcasing of handicrafts from across the world. Among the 25 countries participating here is Uzbekistan, from where five artisans are showcasing their calibre.

Shayakubov Shailkon is a papier mache painter who has brought with him a host of items, including jewellery boxes (in fact, all kinds of boxes), chess pieces, pencil cases among others. "Papier mache is an age old craft of Uzbekistan. Detailed work like the miniature floral patterns that I have used can be done on them. It's used to make attractive gift items," says Shayakubov.

"Visitors are showing a lot of interest in our products," he avers.

Mirzaev Kamol, too, is a papier mache artisan who has brought similar pieces. An Uzbekistan citizen visiting the stalls explains that arts and crafts occupy a prominent place in the cultural heritage of Uzbekistan. The national crafts and arts of Uzbekistan include engravings on copper, wood, carpet-making, ceramics, ornamental embroidery, gold embroidery, and painting on papier-mache.

Nilufar Musadjanova is the only one in her family who practices embroidery. "Embroidering on a two-metre cloth takes at least two to three months. It needs a lot of concentration. Women in Uzbekistan use a lot of embroidery in their clothes," she says.

She mostly uses cotton and natural silk cloth for her intricate work. Nilufar has beautifully embroidered long coats, table clothes, sofa covers and prayer mats at her stall. Though a little expensive, the price is reasonable for the work and effort that has gone into it.

Places such as Nurata, Bukhara, Samarkand, Shakhrisabz, Tashkent and Fergana in Uzbekistan are famous for special types of embroidery works. Nilufar is delighted to be participating at Muscat Festival.

"It is wonderful to bring arts and culture of our country to this beautiful country which has such a diverse population," she says.

Uzbek painter Mirodil Yakubov is displaying amazing items from his repertoire of work using the mediums of watercolour, tempera and Gouache on silk and paper.

Mirodil, who has studied at the Tashkent State Art Institute, is a member of Academy of Art in Uzbekistan and has participated in a host of exhibitions across the world, including in Egypt, Turkey, India, and Iran. He mostly concentrates on medium sized canvas using a host of subjects. "People in Muscat are showing a lot of interest in my work," he says.

Like him, wood engraving artist Audurazzokov Abdullah is getting a lot of attention. "I have used the wood of walnut tree to do my work," he says. Book stands, pencil cases, wall hangers - he has brought along some interesting pieces.

The stalls dedicated to the Uzbekistan artisans speak highly of the caliber of the artists there.

This time, the International Festival for Arts, Heritage and Creativity is also providing an opportunity to celebrate the expert works of traditional Omani artisans in an international arena for the first time, with stall dedicated to Public Authority of Crafts and Industries.

Aimed at stimulating innovation and creativity, the village is seeing over 150 artisans representing 25 countries coming together to compete in a competition across 10 handicraft themes including carpets, traditional costumes and embroidery, metal works, pottery, and architectural crafts.

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Publication:Times of Oman (Muscat, Oman)
Geographic Code:9UZBE
Date:Feb 6, 2012
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