Trade Fair dappled in African colours

IITF 2014

Trade Fair dappled in African colours

The Ndebele culture of South Africa, known for distinctive beadwork and colourful geometric mural art is the highlight of the ongoing 34th edition of the India International Trade Fair (IITF) at Pragati Maidan.

Named the partner country this year and following the theme of ‘Women Entrepreneur’, this international pavilion gives exposure to the South African women who have been practising and keeping alive their traditional craft of beadwork.

Joahannah, participating in IITF for the second time with all her bead and jute work says, “This time people are demanding more discounts.”

She giggles, while showcasing her stylishly-designed jute purses, earrings and colourful beaded jewellery items. Just opposite her stall is Namvveselelo, who is busy doing some needle work. “This is not thread, its telephone wire,” she exclaims.

The walls of her stall are decorated with colourful bowls, plates and vases made from different coloured wires, in geometric prints. “I design them and give them shape accordingly by using plastic bowls and aluminium wire.” 

In almost all the African stalls, an item which is very common but occupies the pride of place is the beaded doll.

“These dolls represent the Ndeble tradition,” says Sizane, who is participating in the IITF for the second time. “These dolls are made of wood and are stuffed with cotton and wool,” she says.

There are other international stalls too like Myanmar, Iran, Afghanistan, Thailand, China, Hong Kong and Korea, which are drawing keen interest. The three stalls of Turkey glitter with colourful, mosaic lamp shades, crystal items and dazzling accessories.

“These lamp shades are all handmade,” replies Hakan Karkush of Istanbul. “These are made of ceramics and the crystals on the glass are fixed in a mosaic pattern by using laser. This is a typical craft of Turkey,” he says. 

The colourful brass lamps are priced between Rs 1,500 - 10,000.

Adding to the beauty of the stalls are brightly coloured ceramic bowls which make for ideal gift items.

Jugs, vases, saucers, genie lamps and cups with intricate floral patterns in vivid colours are extraordinary and worth a buy.

To woo Indian customers, the stalls have crystal items with images of Indian gods. “We are trying to be more innovative with our products. To attract Indian customers we have used the images of Indian gods on crystals item. Our common knick-knacks include crystals in the shape of elephants, dolphins and birds,” says Akash, manager of another Turkey stall.

From Thailand, Barichhe, attending the Trade Fair for the 15th time, is excited to showcase her collection of artificial decorative flowers.

Made of clay and polyester, these flowers look like original and are priced between Rs 500 to 4,000. 

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