Santa Fe International Folk Art Market

Two Maasai women hear the rhythm of drumbeat and begin to jump in that up and down way their long legs accomplish with such grace, their halo of beads lifting and falling.  Amalia, a shy, stout Guatemalan I’ve known for years transforms into a coy dancer in front of me, her long braids with tassels swing and tease as she slips through a tangle of people twice her height.  A Tuareg from Mali towers over everyone, his tall elegance turbaned, his caftan billowing; he catches the hand of a Peruvian gal and pulls her into the center of a circle with an unstoppable smile.  The world begins to take turns - moving in and out of an open circle of grass on the top of a hill - each colorful entrance yet another face of global glamour.  

After a year of creative work, 92 communities all over the world put their best pair of hands on a camel, a train, a plane … and send them off to Santa Fe.  They’ve been invited to the International Folk Art Market after a demanding selection process; a village back home depends on them.  And tonight these representatives, dressed in their native effulgence, have formed a processional like Olympians following the torch; each takes a turn around the track.  

Many eyes are overflowing with the fullness of this moment.  More than a few have never seen this world of others, never left their country or their village, never spent a night in a hotel, never spoken another language, and certainly do not speak ours.  All have worked hard to get to this place.  It is a moment of gathering oneself into a new and greater whole.  Imagine the wonder.  This grand procession of colors and headwraps, jewels and feathers and hope and utterly illuminated faces.

I have come, now my seventh year, to see these faces.  Ahead there are days of work - meeting with ibu artisans to design and order our next line, searching out new ones to bring into the ibu fold, building relationships that can bridge the continental divide that will soon close between us.  

But for now, we are jamming on a hill in Santa Fe as the sun marbles the sky.  Music is the common language, and so we dance. We jump.  We swing and sway.  And those who cannot, gather on picnic blankets and unpack wine and bread.  And I think - is there anything more beautiful?  Than for this world to dance together in the perfect glory of our differences?  Past the harsh divisions of politics and religion, past the difficulties of language and the smallness of mean minds -  just out there on a hill of green earth with the slant of sun and the unrivaled beauty of what makes us human.  The faces of Global Glamour are beaming, holding one another,  jumping,  . . up and down and around, for a splendid moment . . . in a state of grace.

all the best
from Santa Fe,
Susan Hull Walker