18.10.2012 - Culture Sector

Eighty products received the UNESCO Award of Excellence for Handicrafts 2012 in South and Southeast Asia

Bangkok, 15 October 2012 – The UNESCO Award of Excellence for Handicrafts has been granted to 80 craft products from a total 189 entries in the South and South-East Asian subregions.

Jointly organized by UNESCO, the Malaysian Ministry of Information, Communications and Culture and Malaysian Handicraft Development Corporation (Kraftangan Malaysia), and with the support of the Crafts Council of Malaysia and Society Atelier Sarawak, handicraft products from two subregions came together for the first time for an evaluation session, adding to the variety of crafts displayed at the event. The jury examined 119 handicraft submissions from South-East Asia and 70 products from South Asia. The experts named 47 products from South-East Asia and 33 products from South Asia as the award recipients of the year 2012.

The range of submissions was highly diverse, including traditionally woven textiles and natural fibres, metalworks, wood and stone carvings and ceramics. The products came from Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Viet Nam as well as Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka.

The international panels of experts systematically judged submissions through four key criteria: excellence in production and design, expression of identity, innovation and marketability, all essential attributes for outstanding craft creations.

By recognizing such characteristics in craftsmanship, the programme aims to set quality standards, raise international awareness and strengthen the promotional potential for Asian handicraft products.

A selection of the successful South and South-East Asia awardees are listed below. The winning entries will be on permanent display at SACICT Centre in Bangsai, Ayutthaya, Thailand, after their return from a major Asia-Pacific craft exhibition to be held in Kuwait in the first quarter of 2013. Photographs and details about the awards can be seen at: www.unescobkk.org/culture/creativity/award-of-excellence-for-handicrafts

The Award of Excellence for Handicrafts in Asia
Founded to encourage the craft sector to preserve cultural diversity and traditional skills and knowledge in an increasingly competitive context, the award aims to promote high standards of quality and authenticity, while encouraging artisans to consider the relevance and function of their creations. Today, over 700 handicrafts have been awarded across Asia, most of which are now presented in UNESCO online catalogue database.

The programme, formerly known as the Seal of Excellence for Handicrafts, was established in South-East Asia in 2001 by UNESCO and the ASEAN Handicraft Promotion and Development Association. It was expanded to South Asia in 2004, to East Asia in 2006 and West-Central Asia in 2007. The winners receive certificates that guarantee the quality of their products and will benefit from a range of capacity-building and promotional supports.

To support the development and preservation of the handicraft sector through donations or services-in-kind, please contact the UNESCO office directly. More information on the Award of Excellence is available on the programme website: www.unescobkk.org/culture/creativity/award-of-excellence-for-handicrafts or contact one of the project’s partners.

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