Michelle Obama samples India`s rich textiles, art

New Delhi: US First Lady Michelle Obama Monday morning visited the National Handicrafts and Handloom Museum here and sampled some of the country`s rich textiles, art and crafts.

She arrived at the museum in the Pragati Maidan complex at 10.45 a.m. in a convoy comprising eight vehicles from Rajghat, Mahatma Gandhi`s memorial, while her husband Barack Obama left for Hyderabad House for talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Museum director Ruchira Ghosh walked Michelle through the galleries devoted to the traditional textiles of India, rural handicrafts and art.

Also on display for the first lady were Patachitra art from West Bengal, Phulkari weaves from Punjab, Phoosa art from Karnataka, Dushala shawls from Jammu and Kashmir and handicrafts from Himachal Pradesh.

About 20 women artisans from across the country exhibited their work on the occasion.

Michelle Obama was impressed by the rich legacy of Indian crafts. She also interacted with 15 underprivileged girls of an NGO who make handicraft items for a living.

She showed keen interest in the welfare of the girl child, museum sources said. Michelle Obama also inquired about the livelihood of the girls and wanted to know more about India`s art and craft heritage.

To add to her cultural experience were Baol folk singers from West Bengal.

The museum has over 20,000 exhibits reflecting Indian crafts traditions and has seven galleries spaces for display.

The museum, which is usually closed on Monday, was specially open for the first lady.

The National Handicrafts and Handloom Museum was set up over a period of 30 years starting in the 1950`s when the area adjacent to the Pragati Maidan was envisaged as a craft zone for artisans to work for the preservation of traditional art.