Newburyport, MA (June 2019) – Cambridge-based non-profit organization Cultural Survival will present its second annual Indigenous arts festival once again this year in Newburyport, MA. This year’s Bazaar will feature unique pieces from more than 60 cultures including traditional Zulu beaded jewelry, Nepali masks, and Maya weavings. By uniting local shoppers and Indigenous artists from all over the world, the Bazaars not only allow artists to share their heritage; they also support a network of international artists with contributions to sustainable livelihoods.
Growing up in rural KwaZulu Natal, Nozipho Zulu was surrounded by rich Zulu tradition like the art of jewelry beading. Born of these Indigenous practices, Nozipho’s brand ZuluGal Retro represents a blend between new and old, preserving heritage and embracing contemporary design. The youth-owned social enterprise supports South African locals at every level, from bead vendors to groups of women crafters. Most importantly, ZuluGal Retro invests in its community by training unemployed youth to upcycle bags and fashion accessories. ZuluGal’s presence in the Durban community has helped many earn a sustainable income, send children to school, cover health costs, and more.
While Nozipho learned Zulu beading, in Nepal a young Ujjwal Shrestha was crafting traditional papier mâché masks with his family. Today, Shrestha’s brand, Crafted in Kathmandu, is rooted in Nepali tradition. Papier-mâché masks date back to 15th century Nepal when mask dancing began to mark the agricultural cycle. Centuries later, Shrestha draws inspiration from these days, using natural methods like grinding colors by hand to make masks. Crafted in Kathmandu has expanded into more than just a family business; it now supports various artists in the community, selling their paintings, scarves, jewelry, and more. Shrestha trains members of the community to make handmade goods, providing opportunities that have been difficult to come by since the 2015 earthquake.
A world away, in Mayan villages around Guatemala’s Lake Atitlan, Imre and Lorna Kepes established their social enterprise, Guatemalan Art and Culture Connection, to introduce US audiences to the rich works of Tz’utujil Maya art. Buying directly from over 20 artists in San Pedro la Laguna, they are part of a community effort to preserve artistic tradition and provide stable incomes. Vibrant paintings, embroidered tapestries, and beaded jewelry overflow their booth.
For over 40 years, Cultural Survival Bazaars have given Indigenous artists a platform to sell their work to American audiences. This summer, the bazaars will feature Indigenous artists from the US, Mexico, Ghana, Peru, Burkina Faso, Palestine, Uzbekistan, Colombia, Uganda, Tibet, and Nepal, among others. Every 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.