By Mudassir Raja
Arts and crafts are universal in the sense that they appeal to all and sundry. The artistic works denote the dexterity and the concept of the artist to other human beings.
When it comes to interior designs and decorations, the handicrafts and artistically-made and printed utensils from different eastern countries are deemed unique and valuable. Being a multicultural country, Qatar offers a variety of arts and crafts for interior designing to its residents.
One such opportunity revisits Qatar at Summer Entertainment City (SEC) that recently started again in Doha Exhibition and Convention Centre. As there are many retail outlets set up at the SEC for the visitors on the occasion of Eid, two such stalls are conspicuous for their colourful and artistically crafted handicrafts for interior designing. One outlet offers Iranian products and the other puts forward Pakistani crafts.
Mahdi Khorasani is a young businessman from Iran. He deals in handicrafts and has his business established in Isfahan. He has been a regular visitor to Qatar as he always gets an encouraging response from the customers here.
“We have our own company. These are all our own products. We have our own craftsmen. Almost all of my products on display here are hand-made.
“The products are for home decoration and interior designing. I have famous Iranian arts. Primarily, our products carry two basic art forms – khatam kari and meena kari. These two art forms are printed on different items such as plates and dishes. We also have these art forms hand painted on the clay. The art of khatam kari is mainly done on bags and boxes. We have used wood, copper and bones while doing the art work. We also have products with other art forms such as kalam kari applied through block painting. We have kalam kari table cloths and handbags.”
Mahdi has been in Qatar many times as he mainly visits the county to attend different exhibitions. “I am satisfied with my business here. Mostly Qataris and women are my customers. They take keen interest in my products because of their colourful looks and delicate designs. There are certain products that all my customers like such as handbags and wall hanging clay plates.
“Coming to Qatar helps us showcase our craft and art in Iran. We sell the products, and at the same time it helps Iranian artists in keeping their tradition and culture alive. Our products go around all over the world. The people who do not go to Iran, we take Iran to them.”
Shehryar Mehmood Iqbal is a Pakistani businessman who runs his handicraft business in Kuwait. He has also set up a stall at DECC. “We have a lot of hand-made items from Pakistan. I am taking part in the third similar exhibition in Qatar.
“This time we have a new item – shoes for women all hand-made from Lahore. The colourful and shining shoes are available in all sizes for the ladies. I hope that the women from different backgrounds will take keen interest in the traditional Pakistani shoes.
“Further, I have cabinets, tables, picnic tables, glass tables, and lamps. All these products are actually hand-made. I have brought antique items that are admired and purchased mainly by Qatari people. We have been running the business in Kuwait for about 30 years. The business is good. We order one container of different hand-made items after every two weeks.”
Shehrya appreciates the ambience and politeness of the Qatari people. His company has been trying to set up a permanent store in Qatar. “We are in negotiations to have our store on Salwa Road.”
Melinda Macasaet, a Filipino expatriate visiting the stall of Pakistani products, said: “It seems like a very nice collection of handicrafts. I especially like different shapes and frames of various products. “I am attracted the most by the shoes for ladies. I think this is one of the most beautiful hand-made item from Pakistan available in Qatar.”
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