The International Weavers Festival (IWF), a platform aims to revitalize indigenous weaving arts
Bangladesh is well known for its age old craftsmanship. Over the decade of many years, a number of crafts have been declining, and with that, the number of craftsmen have declined as well. In order to hold on to the ancient heritage, The International Weavers Festival (IWF) is organized to celebrate, showcase, promote and revive the distinguished weaving arts of our county.
The International Weavers Festival was the first of its kind ever organized every year in Bangladesh by Tootli Rahman, since 2016.
This year too, on February 22, the grandiose festival took place in Satarkul, Pachkhola (Madani Avenue), Vatara. In order to celebrate Mujib Borsho, IWF has taken the responsibility to fulfill his dream. Since Bangabandhu had the dream to make Bangladesh ‘Sonar Bangladesh’, IWF targets to enrich the quality of the crafts and to promote it within the country, and globally.
With the theme 'Artists Impressions of Bangladesh', Bangladeshi khadi, silks, cotton, muslins, Mirpur benarasi and jamdanis were used in the fashion show by the weavers and artists, to turn the age old art into fusion attires.
The fashion show was choreographed by Tootli Rahman, while the Mirpur benarashi attires were showcased in a bridal show choreographed by Seema Hamid.
State Minister, Ministry of power, energy and mineral resources, Nasrul Hamid, who was the chief guest at the event has been a patron of the festival since its inception.
Honourable State Minister, Ministry of Information and Communication Technology Division, Zunaid Ahmed Palak MP, was the guest of honour and the special guest was Deputy Head of the Mission, Embassy of the Kingdom of Spain, Emilia Celemin Redondo.
The show also included a cultural show, food, and painting impressions of famous artists like Kanak Chanpa Chakma, Ekushey Podok recipients, and Jamal Ahmed. Folk art, pot chitro, rickshaw art and paintings of Old Town was showcased at the event. Every segment was unique and throughly enjoyed by the guests.
Tootli Rahman, also founded the "Bangladesh Heritage Crafts Foundation" to not only include the weaving arts , but all other heritages of Bangladesh.
“Bangladesh Heritage Crafts foundation was started in a very small scale, where under privileged women were given training in different designs and colour schemes and ways to make it more appealing to the buyers,” said Tootli Rahman.
Tootli is adamant to a place where, under one roof, different crafts and cultural documentary can be arranged as a ‘Heritage Village’ for the next generation of our nation, and for the wold to see and learn what a rich heritage and glorious past Bangladesh had.
She ended the show saying: “Our culture, language, history and values are vital in uniting us as a nation. People without the knowledge of their past origin and culture is like a tree with no roots.”
The face behind Bangladesh Heritage Crafts foundation and International Weavers Festival:
Tootli Rahman is a visionary whose contributions to more than seven areas of business, namely: event planning, hosting television shows, wedding planning, fashion fusion, interiors, garden landscapes etc. have transformed Bangladeshi lifestyle. She was a trailblazer whose work was taken as inspiration by others.
She has been empowering underprivileged women and helping them to start up businesses with proper guidance in their fields. To support and help women in all fields, Tootli formed WINGS (Women in Need Group), a support group. WINGS has also given meritorious female students scholarships to complete their studies.
With the International Weavers Festival, she encouraged young women to start weaving. At the festivals, she awarded them with cash and medals. Gradually, this motivated them to continue their work in this field of weaving art that was previously dominated by the men.
Throughout her years of successful events, pioneering work, women empowerment programs, and strong dedication in wearing locally made attires, Tootli Rahman has gained recognition as an exclusive and reputed designer both locally and internationally.
Her slogan that is still going strong: “Wear deshi and buy deshi” has set the vision of enriching Bangladesh to its nation and the world. Thus, she has taken out a documentary film on weavers. Tootli has also launched two books: The Weavers Threads and Crafts of Bangladesh.