Santa Fe International Folk Art Market

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Mara Britz

Year(s) attended: , ,

Supported by Omba Arts Trust

Ju/'Hoansi Bushmen Beaded Pictures, Ikung and Ju/'Hoansi Bushman Linotype Prints, Baskets from the Kavango Region, Khwe Bushman Baskets, PVC Jewelry from the Kavango and Kunene Regions, and Ikung and Ju/'Hoan Bushman Ostrich Eggshell Jewelry

Mara Britz

Work by Mara Britz

The Bushmen of Southern Africa have been creating and trading glass beads for centuries. Mara Britz and other artisans in her community have begun to use these colorful and delicate glass beads to create elaborate designs on fabrics that depict different aspects of Bushmen culture, such as animals and medicinal plants that are an important part of their daily life.

Also for centuries, the stories of the Bushmen have traditionally been depicted through painting on rock – the animals hunted and plants gathered, as well as the spirits guiding their lives. With the loss of land and land-based resources, their stories and language are dying out, and, with these, the rock art. The Bushmen are now reviving their stories through the medium of linotype prints.

The Kavango Region and Caprivi Region baskets are made from the fronds of the hyphaene petersiana palm.The fronds are left in their natural color or dyed using different plant materials such as the leaves, roots and bark of a variety of shrubs and trees. Kavango baskets are made with the coil method; Caprivi baskets, warp and weft.

Gihiriku and Sambiyu bracelets are made from PVC etched with traditional designs by men from the Kavango Region. Originally, bracelets were made from bone or ivory as body adornment for the semi-nomadic Himba people. The ostrich eggshell jewelry is made from individually-shaped beads using eggshell from commercial farms. These adornments are exchanged as gifts or worn during cultural dances and festivals.

The Santa Fe International Folk Art Market, a non-profit organization, produces the largest international folk art market in the world, and our success led to Santa Fe’s designation as a UNESCO City of Folk Art.