It was a splash of colours, rhymes, and drum beats of joy and excitement at India’s annual Surajkund International Crafts Mela festival. It is a fiesta of cultural displays marked during the first fortnight of each February.
The two-week celebration is already embedded in the world’s tourist calendar as the world’s largest crafts fair. Every year, about a million participants from different countries gather in India to showcase a diversity of handicrafts, handlooms, and cultural fabrics.
Nigeria emerged as the world’s largest arts and culture festival winner in this year’s event. Nigeria’s Niger and Ekiti states represented the country in the crafts exhibition and performance content.
Nigeria, host country India, and Uganda got the VIP pick in that order for the best performances in the festival that performed daily for two weeks.
During the event, a delegation was appointed for an all-African networking organization that would push for the development of arts, culture, and heritage in Africa, said Ojo Bakare, a professor of choreography and performance aesthetics, who led the Nigeria team to India and was later elected president of the delegation.
Until 2013, the festival bore no international status; it was upgraded that year and christened the ’28th Surajkund International Crafts Mela’. After the upgrade, in 2014, over 15 countries from European, Asia and Africa participated.