Bahrain recently inaugurated the Bani Jamra Naseej Factory in the village known for its traditional textile craft. The BD220,000 project offers three looms on which artisans can learn and weave—a significant change from the single loom that the village had to depend on earlier. Preserving handicrafts and traditional industries is a government priority.
“With this launch, we conclude a year of continuous cultural activities despite the great challenges and obstacles posed by the COVID-19 crisis, and the Bani Jamra textile factory reflects our efforts in a year laden with Bahraini cultural achievements,” said Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities (BACA) president Shaikha Mai bint Mohammed Al Khalifa.
Shaikha Mai referred to the new factory as the “fruit of co-operation with the local community in order to upgrade the kingdom’s cultural infrastructure and promote sustainable development,” explaining that handicrafts have an important role in promoting local businesses, a newspaper in the Gulf region reported.
Numerous creative products, including those produced by the textile weavers of Bani Jamra will be showcased at Expo 2020 in Dubai, scheduled to start in October 2021.
While the village at one time had more than 50 looms, with one in three out of four homes, in recent years, younger generations of weaving families have gone on to work in oil and other industries.
The factory the village previously relied on, for more than 20 years, consisted of a single loom placed in the centre of a cramped room.
The new factory was constructed with the involvement and input of the local community, and the inauguration was attended by the village’s dignitaries as well as representatives from the local charitable fund and sports club.
The weavers have started getting commissions from designers in Bahrain and regionally, and the factory will serve as a production hub, storefront and educational centre.
In addition to the gift shop at the factory, textile products weaved by Bani Jamra’s artisans will also be available for sale at the Al Jasra Handicrafts Centre and the National Museum. A staff member will be on hand to explain the process to interested visitors, who can also learn from the weavers.
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