- Bina Ali, a renowned clay artist and entrepreneur, founded Artel in 1995, a brand that primarily works in terracotta, preserving the cultural heritage of the Indus Valley Civilization.
- Through Artel, Bina collaborates with local artisans from various regions of Pakistan, blending tradition and innovation to create mesmerizing products that bridge the gap between culture and modernity.
- In addition to working with skilled craftsmen, Bina empowers underprivileged youth by providing training programs and employment opportunities, changing the lives of over 75 youngsters. As a female leader in a patriarchal society, she encourages women to pursue their dreams and make a positive impact on society.
Renown clay artist, Bina Ali graduated in textile design from National College of Arts, Lahore. She is the remarkable entrepreneur behind Clay Art brand, Artel which she founded in 1995.
Artel primarily works in terracotta, which is the cultural heritage of the Indus Valley Civilization. Bina Ali holds various design interventions with local artisans all over Pakistan, giving upcoming artists the chance to showcase their handcrafted pieces and designs.
Talking about the talented artists she works with from all over the country, Bina Ali mentions,
“I have under ARTEL’s umbrella, potters of Harappa, Hala, Badin, camel/cow hide lamps and shades makers of Multan, weavers of Rohri, Bhawalpur, reed moorah (a conventional type of seating from the subcontinent) weavers of Rahim Yaar Khan, woodworkers of Swat and Sindh.”
The talented artisan, Ali is blending tradition and innovation to create mesmerizing products that bridge the gap between culture and modernity. With a deep respect for the centuries-old crafts, she collaborates with local craftsmen, harnessing their skills and expertise to breathe new life into traditional art forms.
“I work with their skills along with my expertise of designs to create innovative products which are a twist of culture and modernity . To conserve the sanctity of centuries crafts, I incorporate their typical style of forms/ style of weaving/ colours and the area’s original motifs with ARTEL’s own signature style that has developed over the years.”
Empowering Young Artists Through Artel
The brand not only works with local artists and craftmakers but also empowers the underprivileged by providing training programs for fine craft and equipping them with the skills they would require to continue to earn a living for themselves. Artel not only trains the young men and women but provides them with payment as an incentive to train under them. From 1995, Bina Ali has helped train over 75 youngsters, changing their lives for the better.
“In addition to working with local artisans, I engage the less privileged youth as my core team and train them in the fine craft of terracotta moulding and painting. The youth is paid for the training period and hired by ARTEL once trained. I have, over the years, groomed and trained more than 75 youth. My firm belief is if I can instill some values and skills in an individual, I can help steer their future generations in the correct direction.”
Bina shares one such awe-inspiring story of Rahim who came to her as a young boy and has been a part of her core team for over 18 years.
“A young boy with little education that I trained 18 years ago and still on my team. Rahim now married, sends both his children to school, a privilege he did not have as a child! I have many such impactful stories. I aspire to create a butterfly effect through my brand, ARTEL.”
Due to gender disparaties prevailing in the country, women led organisations often face multiple challenges. In conversation with Bina we asked her about her experience so far of 28 years.
“I have been most blessed. Being a female in a very patriarchal society, I have found nothing but helpful individuals, always ready to lend a hand, all around me. Be it men or women.”
28 Years of Artel: Creating a Platform for the locals
Over the past 28 years, through her brand ARTEL, she has not only preserved the sanctity of centuries-old crafts but also provided a platform for local artisans to showcase their talents. By collaborating with craftsmen from various regions of Pakistan, she has brought cultural heritage and modernity together in mesmerizing products. Beyond that, Bina’s commitment to uplifting the underprivileged youth is truly inspiring.
Bina’s belief in the butterfly effect of positive change through her brand reflects her dedication to creating a meaningful impact in her community. As a female leader in a patriarchal society, here’s Bina’s message to all the women looking to take a step for a better future and working towards creating an impact on the society,
“Do what you love, love what you do. Don’t let anyone take your dreams away.”
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