Santa Fe International Folk Art Market

Omani Beauties led the opening procession of the 2011 International Folk Art Market. Simple wooden blocks were banged in rhythm, Frankincense dispersed a lovely fragrance and so started the largest Folk Art Market, some say in the world, which brought 132 artists from 49 countries together for another record breaking success.

This Omani beauty looked kindly down on my pups. These ladies perform, sing, play music, tattoo bodies and last year offered their brand of coffee with date paste - for free.

I love the smile on this Omani patriarch. Everyone was happy and seemed to feel festive and ready for business. Record sales numbers might get close to half a million dollars of goods sold!

This dude wore cool shades, obviously no country pumpkin.
While the prices on goods could be stiff, as much as $5,500 for one piece of fabric, which placed such surely above the average local working stiff, collectors and gallery owners scooped up the best at the $125 entry fee preview prior to the event proper. The average artist takes about $16,000 back to the community or cooperative.

Our own Akeem Ayanbisi Ayanniyi, Nigerian master of the talking drum is part of a larger local Nigerian and West African community. Obviously he looks ecstatic, I assume at the prospect of sales of drums, performing, teaching and not least meeting up with friends and partying all weekend long.

I cheered when I noticed a representative of Palestine and he seemed pleased to feel the support for a people that have gotten a really rough deal.

The opening night brought my very favorite band from the bay area, the West African Highlife Band, right to the park in my 'hood, where those seasoned musicians got those bodies moving, no matter where they had come from, how tired they might have been. This band knew how to play an infectious, irresistible rhythm, they put on a great show. What a way to welcome those 132 artists.

I love parties that are enjoyed by all ages and different cultures. After all we are all human. Those kids had a ball and so did I. No doubt the 10,000 visitors enjoyed their experiences. I already look forward to next year's event.

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