Colombia’s artisans return to Expoartesanías with edition 31

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On December 7, Colombia’s largest arts and crafts fair EXPOARTESANIAS will open its doors in Bogotá for its XXXI edition, and first opportunity, in almost two years, for visitors to buy directly from artisans. Going by the slogan ‘A fair to find ourselves again,’ the two-week long Expoartesias inside the Corferias exhibition grounds will showcase the creations of 650 exhibitors from Colombia’s many ethnic groups, as well as specialty wares from 18 countries.

The countries invited to the pavilion “Handicrafts of the World” are Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, Spain, Brazil, Guatemala, Peru, Poland, Ghana, Kenya, Turkey, India, Indonesia, Iran, Mexico, Pakistan and Italy.

With artisans representing Colombia’s 32 departments, from the arid peninsula of La Guajira to Eastern plains, Caribbean, coffee highlands, Pacific litoral, Amazon, Andean mountains, and those with workshops in the capital Bogotá and surrounding regions, Expoartesians is one of the most anticipated events of the year as it allows shoppers to purchase directly from communities that depend on their handicrafts for much-needed income.

Many of the ethnic groups that make their annual trip to Bogotá live in some of the country’s most remote and inaccessible regions. “This edition features crafts that were born in the midst of the pandemic, and have a high emotional component that will lead attendees to connect with the magic of ancestry and resilience,” affirms Ana María Fríes, general manager of Artesanías de Colombia. “With Expoartesanías we can meet again, reconnect with traditions and meet our artisans face-to-face,” she added.

Beginning with traditional accessories iconic to Colombia’s cultural landscapes – hammocks, mochilas, sombreros, ruanas, ponchos, carnival masks and rainforest baskets, to name a few – this fair also includes contemporary designs, from fashion to home accessories and jewelry. “For more than 30-years, Corferias has been the home of a fair that brings together Colombia’s indigenous communities and cultures,” states Andrés López, president of Corferias. “In this edition, the handicrafts remind us of the natural and cultural riches that characterize us as a country, and the many stories that embody the tenacity of our artisans, among the most impacted by coronavirus.”

Edition 31 of Expoartesanías covers five pavilions (each with two floors of exhibition space), an outdoor area for workshops, and socially-distanced food court where guests can enjoy regional cuisines.

As part of the national government’s mandate of opening to 100% crowd capacity, Corferias will allow entry only those who have started a COVID-19 vaccination scheme, by showing proof of a first dose, or completed cycle certificate.

A quick guide to each pavilion and what visitors will enjoy:

Pavilion 3: “Traditional”

This space is dedicated to traditional workshops from 18 of the country’s departments, and showcase of the many arts and crafts that have been handed-down through generations.  Participating for the first time in the fair is the Association of Artisans of the Valley of Cerinza, known for their leatherwork and association that gives employment for dozens of women in rural Boyacá.

The stands Moda Viva / Arte Viva present artisans enrolled in Artesanías de Colombia’s many development programs, and La Troja, Rueda de Saberes, is the space where this fair’s protagonists will give talks about their shared knowledge and techniques. In the same pavilion (level 2), are the stands of 28 indigenous communities, each with their unique creations. The Ethnic Handicraft Project of Colombia, represents members of the indigenous, palenquero, black, Afro-Colombian (NARP) and gypsy communities.

Pavilion 4: “Laboratories, Innovation and Design”

Here visitors get to see trends and innovation in arts and crafts, from raw materials to contemporary designs. With more than 1,000 product references, visitors can buy items that are rooted in tradition, yet inspired for contemporary functionality.

Pavilion 6: “Home and Decoration”

One of the most popular trade show areas is this pavilion with 96 exhibitors showcasing items crafted from diverse materials and which cover every dimension, from earthenware to ceramics,  metallurgy, textiles and rugs woven from natural fibres.

Pavilion 6 (level 2) “Handicrafts of the World”

As its title evokes, Handicrafts of the World brings world markets to Bogotá, with authentic items one would find in a souk, plaza or bazaar. More than a gathering of merchants and traders, this pavilion is a window on other cultures, each presenting the very best in craftmanship, innovation and traditions. So, if you’re looking for a Turkish lamp, talavera tableware or Iranian rug, this pavilion is perfectly stocked for all occasions.

Pavilion 8 “Jewelry”

From customized to contemporary or classic, Jewelry is a fast-growing cluster of the fair, and one, that brings together artisans working in 10 different cities in the country. Here, visitors can browse collections that celebrate the union of territory, tradition and couture.

Tickets are available at Corferias (Cra 37 No.24-67) for those 12 years or older: $20,000 pesos. For children under the age of 12, admission is free.

December 7 to 20 from 10:00 am – 8:00 pm.

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