Saturday, July 5, 2014

The Real NYC Part 6 - The International African Arts Festival

Every year there are two major African/African-American crafts fairs in NYC - DanceAfrica at the end of May and the International African Arts Festival over the July 4th weekend. I always really enjoy these fairs because they highlight very talented artisans who may not be chosen by other juried shows or have the connections to have their goods in stores.

One of the reasons that I love these fairs is that they have some of the most colorful displays around

These artisans represent a cross-section of the African diaspora and also many vendors who import goods from Africa. Here were some of my favorites:

The first place I stopped was NPO Creations. These women product natural hair and body products. This includes a body spray called "I'm the Man" that both The Amazing Ms.D and I loved. a mix of frankincense and patchouli it came with the warning that NPO creations would not b responsible for the this scent had on those around the wearer.

Nina Owens of NPO Creations
 Another frequent participant at this fair is Nubian Stylez a tee-shirt vendor with a wide variety of African-American themed shirts, most of which have a political theme. While most of their choices are afro-centric, they do carry shirts that any progressive thinker would be happy to wear.

Nubian Stylez
ACCENT is an importer of goods from Ghana. The specialize in goods that made using the asaasawa technique. This is a twi word that translates as patchpatch. I loved the patchpack back pack made in this style and they have many other choices

The PatchPack - you will always be able to pick it out
Kim Michele Young makes and sells beautiful jewelry - rings, bracelets and hair pins that she sells under the business name Embellish.

Kim Michele and here work
Akassa is an artist who makes sand paintings his work is colorful and original. His web site is here

 One of the most unique and beautiful artists I encountered was Susan Patterson of Precious Pieces. She has studied the weaving techniques of the Emberra and Wounaan tribes of the Darien rain forest of Panama. One of those is chunga weaving in which masks use fibers made from black palm tree.

Chunga Masks

There was also a master wood carver  - Woodcrafts By O'Banion He is most proud of his Africa Clock

O'Banion and his Africa Clock
He also makes other work - Masonic symbols, Ankhs, and wonderful mirrors.

There were also many artists, artisans and importers who are just learning how to operate in the United States and do not yet have cards or web sites:

The Amazing Ms. D  with Amie Cham from The Gambia

Some of Amie's goods

Another artist made beautiful batique tee-shirts

There were also tradition African artworks

I love this fair. I love being able to share it.

Seeing the world through Woodcraft by O'Banion

1 comment:

  1. Wow. This is my favorite post so far because it was such a great day for me. Wonderful weather, great friends, fine selection of unique items that you could never find in any department store. It was also a wonderful NYC experience. For three dollars, you got to spend the day in 'Africa' with not only the visual beauty but also the culinary variety that is the continent and the diaspora. By the way, while this is a themed festival, there were all kinds of people attending and enjoying what the festival had to offer. Check it out next July 4th. AMD