SAARC FESTIVAL OF RICE CULINARY ARTS AND SPICE EXHIBITION

Participatory Programme – Royal Government of Bhutan

1. Introduction
It is believed that rice was domesticated in Asia more than 5,000 years ago and since then has been a part of the diet in Asia. Rice is one of the most important staple foods of the SAARC Region and has been cultivated in all SAARC Member States for centuries. This has gradually changed with the population increase and globalization making it cheaper to import, and the traditional rice varieties and cultivation have disappeared from some areas. The Festival of Rice Culinary Arts and Spice Exhibition is planned with the intention to revitalize the intangible cultural heritage associated with traditional foods of Asia which is based on rice and spice. This programme will highlight the resilient cultural heritage of the SAARC Region and help in the process of recovering and rebuilding after the global pandemic.

There are many rituals associated with rice including being the main food item at celebrations, festivals, life events such as birth, marriage and death, etc. Rice made for special occasions are flavoured by spices and other ingredients which are found in each Member State. Rice is also used in creating multiple types of foods including porridge, sweets, breads, medicines and fermented drinks. The SAARC Member States use different processes to create these food items and add different ingredients to increase the nutrition and flavours.

The Festival of Rice Culinary Arts and Spice Exhibition will be an opportunity for culinary artists to compare and contrast their processes, styles and methods of cooking with the others of the Region. The exhibition will also reflect different aspects of the shared cultural heritage of the SAARC Region.

2. Objectives
The main objectives of the SAARC Festival of Rice Culinary Arts and Spice Exhibition are as follows:

  • To revitalize the disappearing crafts associated with rice culinary arts of the SAARC Region.
  • To introduce the traditional, fusion and modern rice-based cuisines of the SAARC Member States to the SAARC Region and the international arena through tourists.
  • To compile records of the recipes, cuisine, traditional tools, and other elements utilized by food artisans involved in the festival.
  • To provide an opportunity to introduce traditional rice varieties of the Member States to a wider international audience.
  • To provide an opportunity for the participants to introduce the spices of each Member State to other participants, exchange ideas and create new recipes.

3. Programme
The SAARC Festival of Rice Culinary Arts and Spice Exhibition will have different components which will be used to highlight the culinary arts associated with rice varieties of the Member States and the intangible cultural heritage which are slowly disappearing. This will be a 4-day programme and all participants of the Member States shall participate in all the segments of the programme.

1) Food Festival
There will be stalls allocated to each participant Member State to share their rice-based traditional, fusion and modern food, street foods and others for the public to enjoy. The menus for the food festival will be decided by the participants of each Member State. Ingredients which should be made available for food preparation should be conveyed to the SAARC Cultural Centre by the participants at the earliest. The SCC will inform the participants of available resources at the earliest. All Member States should participate in the Food Festival and should be prepared to bring all the necessary special ingredients to prepare the food.

2) Live Cooking Demonstrations
The Festival will also provide an opportunity for live cooking demonstrations of street/local rice-based cuisines of the Region. The choice of food for live cooking demonstrations is at the discretion of the Member States and the participants. This could include staple food, savoury, sweet, snacks, drinks, etc., based on rice. All Member States should participate in this event and necessary ingredients, utensils, etc., should be planned ahead in coordination with the SAARC Cultural Centre.

3) Spice Exhibition
The Member States have different spices which enrich the taste of the food. The raw material for the spices is very similar but the quantities used and the ingredients mixed are slightly different creating different aromas of the food. The Spice Exhibition will be an opportunity to display the native spices of the Member States and provide an opportunity for the public to appreciate the different spices. The participants of the Member States should be able to introduce the spices with the specific ingredients and the special food made with these spices authentic to each Member State.

4) Exhibition of Traditional Implements used in Rice Culinary Arts
SAARC Member States are the inheritors of multiple utensils created to meet the needs of cuisines before the industrial age. Today many of these implements are replaced by electronic gadgets which makes the tasks faster but sometimes there is a slight difference in the taste. For example, hand ground (using mortar and pestle) rice has more fibre in the flour than the machine ground rice. This will be an opportunity to introduce the younger generation to fast disappearing utensils and to learn about their uses. Some of these implements will be heavy and the SAARC Cultural Centre hopes that the participants will bring photographs / sketches of traditional implements to be displayed. This will provide an opportunity to understand the similarities and differences in the traditional culinary implements of the SAARC Region. All Member State should try to bring the portable utensils, photographs, documentaries, videos, etc., of traditional utensils for this segment of the programme.

5) Workshop and Webinar on the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Rice Culinary Arts
During the festival, the participants will be given an opportunity to discuss the intangible cultural heritage of rice culinary arts and to share knowledge and information. This will also give an opportunity for the culinary experts in the SAARC Region to share their views and ideas virtually. The webinar information will be made available and will be an open forum where culinary experts and practitioners of the culinary intangible heritage of the Region can participate in real-time. This information will be documented and shared online. All Member States should participate physically and virtually.

4. Participants
1) Officially Nominated Participants from the Member States
The honoured Member States to select participants who can contribute to the multiple segments of the Programme mentioned above. At least one participant should be able to share their knowledge / skills on each segment.
i. Host Member State of the Royal Government of Bhutan is invited to nominate a maximum of twenty (20) participants. Other Member States are invited to nominate a maximum of six (06) participants for the SAARC Festival of Rice Culinary Arts and Spice Exhibition.
ii. The Honoured Member States are respectfully requested to take into consideration the following guidelines.

  • The participants should be chefs, cooks, creators of food and new recipes, etc. They should be known for their creations of rice-based cuisine.
  • Among the participants at least one (01) person should be a Resource Person knowledgeable about the Rice Culinary Arts and the Intangible Cultural Heritage associated with culinary arts of the Member State.
  • A gender balance among the participants should be maintained if possible.
  • The nominated participants should be experts on traditional, fusion and modern rice based culinary arts.
  • Participants from different areas/regions of the Member States would be highly appreciated.

2) Other Participants from the Member States
i. Category A – The SAARC Cultural Centre would also accept the participation of other Experts from the Member States (other than the Official Nominees of the respective SAARC Member States).

  • The selection of other participants (Category A) will be at the discretion of the SAARC Cultural Centre based on the availability of space, their experience and expertise in Rice Culinary Arts and Spices.
  • Air Travel to be borne by the participant and SCC will provide accommodation and the cultural tour depending on availability.

ii. Category B – Participants from the Host Country where the event is held can participate. (Participants with culinary experience of rice cuisines in the Royal Government of Bhutan and traditional methods of creating various dishes can be included in this category.)

  • Other Participants (Category B) from the Host Member State will not be provided with Travelling and Accommodation.
  • Other Participants (Category B) will be provided access to the Stalls/Exhibition Area.

3) Virtual Participants – All Member States to nominate any number of Rice Culinary Experts / Intangible Cultural Practitioners of Rice Culinary Arts to join the Workshop/Webinar virtually. The Virtual activities will be open to the Public.

5. Nomination Procedure and Deadline
1) The names of all participants (Official & Other Participants Category A & B), relevant biographical information including their culinary experiences, contact details and copy of passport should be sent through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs / External Affairs of the Member State via the SAARC Secretariat to the SAARC Cultural Centre.
2) The Member States are required to send their official nominations for the SAARC Festival of Rice Culinary Arts and Spice Exhibition on or before 1st June 2024.
3) All Participants (Official Nominees and Other Participants) must fill the Registration Form which is attached as Annexure 1.

6. Additional Information for the Participants
1) Transport (Airfare) of the nominated participants to the Host Member State should be borne by the nominating Member State as per SAARC practice.
2) All local hospitality including accommodation, meals and local transportation will be provided for the officially nominated participants for the official duration of the Programme by the SAARC Cultural Centre.
3) General ingredients (vegetables, fruits, fish, meat, etc.) for the cuisine, if available in the Host Member State will be provided by the SAARC Cultural Centre. The list of ingredients and required quantities need to be sent to the SAARC Cultural Centre by the participants before the programme.
4) Required cooking utensils (ovens, cookers, pots and pans, etc.) will be provided by the SAARC Cultural Centre, however, specific requirements should be conveyed to the Centre by the participants.

7. Dates
The Host Member State to propose suitable dates for the SAARC Festival of Rice Culinary Arts and Spice Exhibition in June 2024 (exact date to be specified).

8. Venue of the Programme
The Host Member State to select a suitable location for the SAARC Festival of Rice Culinary Arts and Spice Exhibition and share the details with the SAARC Cultural Centre at the earliest.

SAARC Painting Exhibition 2023

Captivating Canvasses of the Vibrant Colours of Culture is an Exhibition of Paintings organized by the SAARC Cultural Centre (SCC) in Collaboration with the Royal Asiatic Society of Sri Lanka.  The SCC is the custodian of a large collection of paintings created by the artists of the SAARC Region during the SAARC Artists’ Camps held annually from 2011 to 2019.  This Exhibition is organized to create an understanding of the cultures of the SAARC Member States as depicted through the artists of the Region.  

The exhibition will be held at the Royal Asiatic Society premises at the Mahaweli Centre.

Date: 7th to 10th November 2023
Inauguration: 7th November 2023 at 11am 
Venue: Royal Asiatic Society of Sri Lanka, No. 96, Ananda Coomaraswamy Mawatha, Colombo 07.  
All are welcome.

Rabindra Jayanti celebration

To commemorate the 162nd Birth Anniversary of Kaviguru Rabindranath Tagore, SAARC Cultural Centre (SCC) in collaboration with Swami Vivekananda Cultural Centre (SVCC), High Commission of India, Colombo organised an event in which Prof. Upul Ranjith Hewawitanagamage, Senior Professor, Dept of Hindi Studies, University of Kelaniya delivered a lecture on the Translation of Gitanjali from Bengali to Sinhalese. Prof. Ankuran Dutta, Director, Swami Vivekananda Cultural Centre graced the occasion along with the staff of SVCC. Mr. Ashish Athapaththu along with his students from SVCC sang Rabindra Sangeet.

 

SAARC Exhibition of Paintings 2020

 

About the Exhibition

SAARC Exhibition of Paintings 2020 was held at the Senaka Bandaranayake Hall, University of Kelaniya on the 23rd of August 2020. The event was organised by the SAARC Cultural Centre in collaboration with the University of Kelaniya ensuring the health measures in place.

The exhibition was a culmination of the SAARC Artist Camp held at the Maldives in 2019. The camp was conceptualized around the theme ‘Oceans, a binding treasure of South Asia’ and ‘Cultures and Confluences of Creativity’. 26 artists from the Member States of Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka participated enthusiastically to express themselves through colours and brush strokes. They drew inspiration from the theme and expressed themselves in the form of paintings.

These artworks consisted of a variety of genres, techniques and mediums. One can enjoy the vast and multi-fold appeal of the mother nature delineated through delightful visions. Though the ‘Oceans’ remains as the binding and common inspiration for the artists yet each artwork entails a narrative of its respective creator. The un-spoken is carefully crafted to bring forth the essence, joy and serenity of the ocean. The underline tale of the shared cultural heritage and values are bespoken through seascapes, calligraphy, abstract landscapes and figurative visions. Most of the artists have chosen oil as their medium, whereas  few paintings made with mixed media and acrylic adds variety to the exposition.

 

Exhibition Catalog pdf-icon

Invitationpdf-icon

 

SAARC Exhibition of Paintings 2019 – Sri Lanka

Date      : 22nd – 24th January 2019
Venue   : Senaka Bandaranayake Hall, University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka,

The SAARC Exhibition of Paintings 2019, was conducted successfully at the Senaka Bandaranayake Hall, University of Kelaniya in Sri Lanka from the 22nd – 24th of January 2019.

The Exhibition of Paintings displayed the diverse painting and artistic talents of the SAARC Region with a collection of over 50 paintings from the SAARC Member States of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The paintings on display formed a stunning array of artistic talents and creative vision by representatives from the participating member states, consisting of artists young and mature, traditional and contemporary, male and female, the famous and the undiscovered. These meaningful and vibrant works of art, showcasing the beauty of our diverse Region, were immortalised on canvas by representatives of the SAARC Member States. The paintings on display were the result of a consolidated effort over the years to bring together painters from the Region, to create such works of art, under the auspices of the SAARC Artists Camp.

The respective Host Member State provided beautiful and inspiring surroundings in which to conduct these SAARC Artists Camps, and where possible, the input and guidance of modern-day Masters. A majority of the paintings on display for this Exhibition were the results of the SAARC Artists Camp and Exhibition of Paintings 2018, conducted in Sri Lanka, under the themes, “South Asian Splendour” and “Vibrant Tranquillity”. The sceneries brought to life by our SAARC Artists, display their creative inspirations which flourish at this annual event organised by the SAARC Cultural Centre

INAUGURATION CEREMONY

Honoured dignitaries from the SAARC Member States of Nepal and Pakistan and the Foreign Ministry of Sri Lanka, learned academics, Chairperson of the National Craft Council and other distinguished invitees, were welcomed onto the premises of the University in a traditional Sri Lankan manner.

The inauguration ceremony commenced with the traditional lighting of the oil lamp led by the Director of the SAARC Cultural Centre, Ms. Renuka Ekanayake and the Vice Chancellor of the University of Kelaniya, Professor D.M. Semasinghe, followed by Mr. Intisar Sulhery, Press Attaché of the High Commission of Pakistan in Sri Lanka, Ms. Dhana Kumari Joshi, First Secretary of the Embassy of Nepal in Sri Lanka, Ms. Thiloma Abayajeewa, Acting Deputy Director from SAARC Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Sri Lanka, Deputy Vice Chancellor, Senior Professor Lakshman Senevirathne, Dean of the Faculty of Humanities, Professor Patrick Rathnayake, Professor Anura Manatunga, Senior professor in Archaeology, the Head of the Department of Fine Arts Prof. Prashanthi Narangoda, Chairperson of the National Craft Council, Ms. Heshani Bogollagama, Librarian of the University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Dr. Nayana Wijayasundara, Additional Secretary to the Ministry of Cultural Affairs, Mr. Vijitha Nandakumara, Director, National Research Council, the Deputy Director (Programmes) of the SAARC Cultural Centre, Mrs. Kishani Jayasinghe – Wijayasekara, the Deputy Director for Research Ms. Bindu Urugodawatte, the Culture Specialist for Programmes, Dr. Soumya Chavan and other distinguished guests.

The Director of the SAARC Cultural Centre, addressed the audience with a welcome speech, followed by the address of the Vice Chancellor of the University of Kelaniya. This was followed by a traditional dance, presented by the students of the Fine Arts department. The first segment of formalities ended with the vote of thanks delivered by the Deputy Director of Programmes. The distinguished guests were then invited to proceed to the main entrance of the Senaka Bandaranayake Hall, where the participating officials from the SAARC Member States and other relevant guests officially declared open the 2019 SAARC Exhibition of Paintings. Thereafter, the honoured guests enjoyed the vibrant and diverse displays of art from the SAARC Member States. A commemorative brochure was produced for the Programme, which was distributed to all distinguished guests present.

ART THERAPY WORKSHOPS – “Creative and Expressive Art

The Centre conducted several auxiliary events to enhance the appreciation of art and the overall productivity of the SAARC Exhibition of Paintings 2019. The events consisted of Art Therapy Workshops on the 23rd of January 2019, and Lectures on Paintings and Art followed by discussions on the 24th of January 2019.

The Art Therapy Workshops were conducted by professional art therapist, Ms. Shimali Perera on the 23rd of January, titled “Creative and Expressive Art”. The Event was attended by Mr. Mohammad Hazrat Ali Khan, Counsellor, Embassy of Bangladesh in Sri Lanka. There were three sessions which promoted creative self-expression at a symbolic and metaphoric level. This was achieved through innovative use of art media, leading to a greater understanding of self. The underlying objective of the workshops, was to create a space where participants were given an opportunity to creatively express themselves and to provide an introspective self-awareness through the creative use of art media. The workshops were conducted using an informal approach, and designed to encourage exploring one’s inner strengths through the creative use of art and imagination. These workshops were organised with a variety of participants in mind, with a particular focus on art students and the youth. The sessions brought about a positive outcome which left the participants with an increased sense of confidence, esteem and awareness.

The lectures and discussions on painting and art took place on the 24th of January, and were conducted by Professor Patrick Rathnayake, Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Professor Anura Manatunga, senior professor of Archaeology, both from the University of Kelaniya. The lectures were valuable and addressed relevant and interesting subject matter relating to art, culture and the overall effect it has on life, learning and success.

The SAARC Exhibition of Paintings 2019, was concluded in a successful manner, achieving its objectives and displaying positive outcomes. The Centre was able to promote regional unity through the medium of art, showcase inherent aspects of the heritage of the SAARC Member States and to promote and protect South Asia’s culture through art.

It was a fitting tribute to the celebration of South Asian art and artists and achieved its objective of spreading unity, culture and greater understanding through art and culture.

 

SAARC Exhibition of Paintings 2019

The SAARC Exhibition of Paintings organized by the SAARC Cultural Centre in collaboration with the University of Kelaniya will be held from the 22nd – 24th of January 2019, at the Senake Bandaranayake Hall, Faculty of Humanities, University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka. The exhibition intends to promote regional unity through the medium of Art, to provide an opportunity to showcase the heritage of Member States by displaying paintings of Artists from the South Asian Region and to preserve, Conserve and protect South Asia’s Culture through Art.

The Exhibition will feature the works of art created by artists of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka at the SAARC Artist Camp held in Sri Lanka in 2018 and also a selection of artworks produced at the SAARC Artist Camps during the preceding years.

With a view to encourage young children to explore the field of painting as a medium of self-expression, the exhibition will also feature lectures and discussions on Painting and Art and a workshop on art therapy titled “Creative and Expressive Art Therapy” for senior Art Students (O/L & A/L).

Workshop on “Creative and Expressive Art Therapy”
Date : Wednesday the 23rd of January 2019
Session  i) 10.00 am – 11.00 am
Session  ii) 12.00 pm – 1.00 pm
Session  iii) 2.00 pm – 3.00 pm

Lecture & Discussion on Paintings and Art
Date : Thursday the 24th of January 2019
Session i) 11.00 am –  1.00 pm
Session ii) 2.00 pm  –  4.00 pm

Admission to all events is free

For further details contact:

Mr. Mahinda Sumanasekara – Documentation Officer,
Mobile: 0771053008, e-mail: documentation@saarcculture.org

Mr. Harishnath Nadarajah – Programme Assistant,
Mobile: 0774997193, e-mail: programme-assistant@saarcculture.org

SAARC Non-Violence Day Art Competition 2018

To mark the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi (2 Oct), which is also observed as SAARC Non-Violence Day and International Non-Violence Day, the SAARC Cultural Centre organized an art competition among school children in Sri Lanka. This Art Competition was aimed at creating awareness on the need to revive and inspire peace, tolerance, non-discrimination, co-existence, non-violence and respect for each other in our societies.

The paintings were submitted by two age groups; 10 years to 13 (Junior Category) and 14 years to 18 (Senior Category) and were based on two quotations of Mahatma Gandhi highlighting his principles of non-violence viz.,

The good man is the friend of all living things”- Junior Category and
What we are doing to the forests of the world is but a mirror reflection of what we are doing to ourselves and to one another” – Senior Category

There was an overwhelming response to the call for entries and over 500 entries from schools from all over Sri Lanka were received. The winning paintings were selected by a panel of judges from the University of Visual and Performing Arts, Sri Lanka. The judges were Dr. Priyantha Udagedara – Head, Department of Textile and Wearable Arts, Faculty of Visual Arts, Mr. Dumith Kulasekara – Head – Department of Painting and Mr. Jagath Ravindra – Head – Department of Multi-Disciplinary Design.

The Award Ceremony of the Art Competition coincided with the 34th SAARC Charter Day celebration on 8th December at the JAIC Hilton Colombo Residencies and Cash Prizes were awarded for the first, second and third places in both categories. The winners received their certificates and cash prizes from the Chief Guest, Mrs. Darshana Senanayake, Secretary to the Ministry of Culture, Sri Lanka and from Mrs. Renuka Ekanayake, Director of the SAARC Cultural Centre.

SAARC Non-Violence Day Art Competition Winners

Junior Category (10 to 13 years)
First Place
Mr. D.A. Pubudy Madusanka (12 years) of President’s College, Sri Jayawardhanapura, Kotte.
Citation – “The painting is an outstanding example of extremely consistency and expressiveness. Composition created in the painting strengthens its dramaturgy.  Skilful use of colour is a testimony to the visual sensitivity of the message of the painting.  It is an excellent example of the use of composition, colour and expression.”

Second Place
Ms. A.M. Amra (11 years) of Badulla Tamil Girls’ Maha Vidyalayam, Badulla.
Citation – “The Painting is a playful precision of childhood dreams, underpinned by shining good humour, with each character of the composition painstakingly coloured with brilliant bright colour pallet.  Skills of craftsmanship and creation of positive expression throughout the painting is outstanding.”

Third Place
Ms. Sandali Adithya Samasundara (10 years) of Mahamaya Girls’ College, Kandy.
Citation – “While using bright colour pallet and figurative composition in a wonderful way to paint a sensitive event, the brilliant use of iconography helps to realise the artist’s vision of supportive and caring world.  Every single motif has its own recognisable story.”

Senior Category (14 to 18 years)
First Place
Mr. K. Vidura Nishan (17 years) of Bamunugama Maha Vidyalaya, Horapavita, Matara.
Citation – “The painting is an outstanding example of creative expression.  Composition is created with an understanding of contemporary issues.  Skillful use of limited colour pallet is a testimony to the visual sensitivity of the message of the painting. It is an excellent example of innovative thinking.”

Second Place
Ms. A.M. Aaisha (17 years) of Badulla Tamil Girls’ Maha Vidyalayam, Badulla.
Citation – “The Painting is a direct precision of social issues.  The dramatic composition addresses the sensitive, social problem in an artistic manner, mixing the real and the surreal with a lot of ironic motifs.  Skills of craftsmanship and creation of positive expression throughout the painting is outstanding.”

Third Place
Ms. Shanthoshika Sangilignanam (16 years) Rambaikulam Girls’ Maha Vidyalayam National School, Vavuniya.
Citation – “Using a limited colour pallet and a figurative composition with a landscape in the background the painting conveys a sensitive truth.  The motifs possess a strong cultural identity, combining reality and fictional styles.  The painting is a good example of the use of composition, colour and expression.”

SAARC Exhibition of Paintings 2018

The SAARC Cultural Centre is delighted to announce the SAARC Exhibition of Paintings 2018 will take place from Tuesday the 10th of July to Friday the 13th of July at the Library premises of the University of Sri Jayewardenepura.  The Inauguration Ceremony will take place on Tuesday 10th July 2018 at the Library of the University of Sri Jayewardenepura from 11.00am to 12.00 noon.

The SAARC Exhibition of Paintings 2018 is organised by the SAARC Cultural Centre in collaboration with the University of Sri Jayewardenepura and the Arts Council of Sri Lanka and will showcase new works of arts from the recently concluded SAARC Artists Camp and Exhibition of Paintings, which took place in Nepal in 2017.  In addition, there will also be presentations and mini workshops related to culture and art throughout the Exhibition, that will enhance the experience of the viewing public.  There will be paintings displayed from all the SAARC Member States of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka and we would be delighted if you would join us to witness the artistic endeavors of a multitude of artists from the South Asian Region.

SAARC Exhibition of Paintings

The SAARC Cultural Centre is the custodian of the paintings created by the Artists from the SAARC Region during the SAARC Artists Camp held annually in different locations.  The SCC will an exhibition showcasing these paintings to the public in Sri Lanka to understand the art and culture of the region through the eyes of artists.

SAARC Handicraft Exhibition and Workshop

The SAARC Handicraft Exhibition and Workshop will provide a suitable platform for the Exhibition of handmade treasures form the South Asian Region and to provide the creators of these valuable pieces of the Region’s Heritage, a forum for discussion, interaction and exchange of valuable tools and knowledge of the trade, within an atmosphere of friendship and Regional corporation.  The commitment of the SAARC Cultural Centre to promote and further shared South Asian culture through handicrafts has been consistent, comprehensive and well received.  Over the past few years, this Programme, which has been held in several SAARC Member States, has given craft persons in the Region the opportunity to exhibit their products, meet other artisans from the Region and discuss new trends and techniques within the industry.  SAARC Cultural Centre aims to rejuvenate the creation of local handicrafts and promote social regeneration and social cohesion through the Handicraft Industry.

The SAARC Handicraft Exhibition and Workshop will be held at the Shilpakala Academy in Dhaka, Bangladesh, from 30th November 2017 to 3rd December 2017.  In addition to an Exhibition and the display of crafts, there will also be the additional aim of promoting the exchange of knowledge and technical expertise amongst its Artisans and to promote the development of new designs and products which are appropriate and attractive to the demands of the new world market.  Lying at crossroads between the arts, business and technology, the creative industries sector comprises a large variety of creative fields, from those heavily industrialised such as advertising and marketing, broadcasting, film industries etc, to those which are less so, like cultural industries. This sector is increasingly important for the benefit of the people of the Region, from the perspective of heritage preservation and economic terms, and the SAARC Cultural Centre is committed to assisting the Region to realise its full potential.  Development of creative cultural enterprises and creative industries, promoting cultural product development, creation of market opportunities, exchange of information and networking arrangements is in accordance with the underlying principal of encouraging better cultural understanding between the SAARC Member States.

Preliminary Meeting
A Preliminary Meeting was held on 28th November 2017 at the Shilapakala Academy chaired by Mr. Liaquat Ali Director General of the Shilpakala Academy with Mr. Wasanthe Kotuwella, Director of the SAARC Cultural Centre and Ms. Kishani Jayasinghe-Wijayasekara, Deputy Director Programmes at the SAARC Cultural Centre at the head table.