It’s almost that time of year again when the hoards of folk art fanatics descend on Santa Fe, New Mexico for the International Folk Art Market. The Associated Press singles out two of the more amazing stories at the market this year but they are hardly alone among the 150 artisans from all over the world. The Santa Fe International Folk Art Market is a treasure for its global reach and domestic drawing power, a model for artists and artisans around the world:
- Among this year’s first-timers will be Mary Padar Kuojok, who spent many years traveling with and cooking for the Sudan People’s Liberation Army. When the Republic of South Sudan was created in 2010, she moved to Juba, where she joined the Roots Project, which helps tribal woman from around the country revive long-ignored art traditions. Kuojok, now a grandmother, hadn’t made the beaded corsets that were unique to her Dinka tribe since she was a child, said Roots Project founder Anyieth D’Wol, a former human rights worker.
- Kandahar Treasures, is giving financial freedom to women who do the traditional geometric embroidery unique to the area. Started by Rangina Hamidi, an Afghan whose family fled war to the United States when she was a child, the project now has more than 400 women selling products. Some of the women earn up to $100 a month, which is almost double the average government salary. Homes with mothers and daughters participating have dramatically improved their family’s economic standing, and given women more control over their lives.
Artisans from around the globe to debut at world’s largest folk art market in Santa Fe (Associated Press/Washington Post)