Newburyport, MA (June 2019) – On July 20-21, Cultural Survival, a nonprofit organization based in Cambridge, MA, will hold one of its annual Indigenous arts festivals in Newburyport, MA. With 30+ years of connecting Indigenous artists worldwide with local artists and communities, this Bazaar will feature traditional and contemporary handcrafts from over 60 cultures. The North Shore public will have the opportunity to exchange, connect with Indigenous artists, enjoy live music, and bring home beautiful mementos from around the world. Among the crafts will be amate paper, made of tree bark in an Otomi Indigenous community in Mexico, handwoven baskets from Botswana, and traditional Zulu decorative plates from South Africa.
Julio Laja Chichicaxtle learned how to make amate paper as a child from his grandparents, a tradition which has been practiced since prior to European colonization. Amate paper was produced extensively and used for communication, records, and ritual during the Aztec Empire. Julio started to sell his own-designed Amate paper from 25 years ago. He and his family, including his wife, Cirila Trejo González, and their two children, have dedicated recent years to creating new designs, including nature-based imagery while maintaining traditional patterns. Combined with embroidered textiles that they also make, the paper serves as a magnificent wall and table decorations.
From across the world, Eve and Nico Gifts and Home Décor is an American business run by Grace Basemera and Robert Tusiime, who travel to and from South Africa building markets for basketry in the US. Along with Zulu decorative plates and Botswana baskets, Eve and Nico Gifts will also bring their eclectic Klikety Klik Boxes. They explain, “The kliketyklikbox™ is a versatile and trendy, yet practical and upmarket, eco-friendly gift box recycled from plastic 2-liter [bottles]. Women who have been unemployed for longer than two years are taught the skills needed to create these boxes, while at the same time learning business management and sales skills.”
Since 1975, Cultural Survival Bazaars have provided a market for thousands of Indigenous artists and cooperatives spanning six continents and over sixty countries. This year, the Bazaars will feature Indigenous artists from the US, Mexico, Ghana, Peru, Burkina Faso, Palestine, Uzbekistan, Colombia, Uganda, Tibet, Nepal, and more. Each year the Bazaars generate about half a million dollars for Indigenous artists, performers, and projects. Cultural Survival, an international NGO based in Cambridge, MA, advocates for Indigenous Peoples’ rights and supports Indigenous communities’ self-determination, cultures, and political resilience.