A world of creativity: Santa Fe event draws artists from 60 countries - Albuquerque Journal

A world of creativity: Santa Fe event draws artists from 60 countries

Nigerian artist Gasali Adeyemo holds one of the fabrics he created outside his home in Santa Fe. (Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal)
Nigerian artist Gasali Adeyemo holds one of the fabrics he created outside his home in Santa Fe. (Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal)

Constellations of spirals, dots and circles speckle cotton and silk fabric as dark as the African sky.

That fabric and its iterations in T-shirts and scarves will drape the booth of Nigerian indigo dyer Gasali Adeyemo at this year’s 13th Annual International Folk Art Market.

Gasali, who lives in Santa Fe, creates fabrics of silk and cotton using batik, tie-dye and indigo in the traditional adire technique. Adire is traditional Yoruba hand-painted cloth. Artists create patterns by tying and stitching the fabric with raffia or cotton thread, or by using chicken feathers to paint with cassava paste made from African tubers. The paste acts as a resist dye, creating white patterns against the blue.

Gasali sees himself both as an artist and an ambassador of the traditional Yoruba culture in southwestern Nigeria.

Dyeing and painting are his form of therapy.

A tiny plywood studio sits in the back of his Santa Fe yard, piled with stacks of folded fabric, an electric frying pan sitting ready to heat the wax. Buckets of fabric soaking in dye sit beneath a nearby tree. Wall hangings expressing his culture decorate the walls, along with photographs of his mother and his father, who died 24 years ago.

Gasali grew up in a house with a family of five. Everyone slept on floor mats, because there were no beds. They gathered water in buckets from a local ditch. Rice was their primary food at breakfast, lunch and dinner.

“The size of my house was the size of a classroom,” Gasali said. “Being in the U.S. and part of the Folk Art Market is a dream come true.”

He makes enough money at the market to last throughout the year.

Gasali sends a portion of his market income home to help his mother and send his nieces to school in Nigeria.

Indigo grows wild in Nigeria. Gasali imports it to create his clothing. Dried balls of the plant fill a basket on his desk like yarn.

A white silk T-shirt spreads across his work table, its fabric swirled with white spirals and circles. Gasali slices a foam square into a pointed pen shape, dips it into the hot wax and adds designs to the sleeves as he listens to traditional African music.

‘My mind is not here,” he said. “My mind is in Africa.

“It makes me digest the hardship, the life I grew up in Africa,” he continued, “to be able to share that with other people.”

His father died young; no one knows what killed him.

Gasali Adeyemo pulls fabric from a dye pot of indigo outside his Santa Fe studio. (Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal)
Gasali Adeyemo pulls fabric from a dye pot of indigo outside his Santa Fe studio. (Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal)

“He died in his home in a lot of pain,” Gasali. “Doctors ask for a down payment. People die because of $50.”

His design shapes symbolize the beliefs of the Yoruba people. He creates them all without a sketch or pattern.

“You just meditate with it,” he said. “And then you flow.”

The spiral is known as a “mosquito coil” that represents the cycle of life. A fish bone pattern reflects the people’s fondness for tilapia.

A double X shape signals crossroads.

“We use the designs as a healing,” Gasali said. “In that junction, we believe there is a spirit. We use indigo to identify the tribe. We do not carry an ID card.”

He studied, then taught at Nigeria’s Nike Center for Arts and Culture. Then he entered an exchange program through the University of Nigeria, which landed him in Ames, Iowa.

“When I first came, I arrived in New York,” he said. “That was the scary part. I don’t think I have ever seen so many people.”

He flew into John F. Kennedy International Airport in the middle of a snowstorm. He had only seen the flaky white substance in movies.

“I took a picture and sent it home to my parents,” he said. “I don’t know how people can live in weather like that,” he added, flashing a grin.

After that, he became something of a traveling Nigerian workshop teacher, migrating to towns across the U.S. He finally settled in Santa Fe in 1996 after visiting a friend.

“I call it the center of craft and culture,” he said.

He flies home at least once a year.

“People always ask me, Gasali, are you going to come back home? I say, ‘Yes.’ ”

Gasali Adeyemo of Nigeria draws a spiral on a silk T-shirt in his Santa Fe studio. (Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal)
Gasali Adeyemo of Nigeria draws a spiral on a silk T-shirt in his Santa Fe studio. (Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal)

Scheduled for July 8-10 at Milner Plaza on Santa Fe’s Museum Hill, this year’s market will showcase the work of nearly 200 artists from more than 60 countries.

Visitors can choose from jewelry, beadwork, basketry, carvings, glass, metal, paintings, mixed-media, sculpture, textiles, musical instruments and more. Nearly 40 percent of the artists are new to the market. Many come from developing countries where the average income is less than $3 a day.

In the past 12 years, 850 artists from 92 countries have participated, generating more than $23 million in sales. Ninety percent of the take heads home with the artists. Many have returned home to build schools, houses and wells for clean drinking water.

Home » Entertainment » Arts » A world of creativity: Santa Fe event draws artists from 60 countries

Insert Question Legislature form in Legis only stories




Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

taboola desktop

ABQjournal can get you answers in all pages

 

Questions about the Legislature?
Albuquerque Journal can get you answers
Email addresses are used solely for verification and to speed the verification process for repeat questioners.
1
The Mars Volta in ABQ? Find out when they ...
ABQnews Seeker
The Mars Volta are back. After ... The Mars Volta are back. After 10 years away, the duo released its self-titled album in Sept. 2022 — the duo's seventh studio album. ...
2
Opera Southwest brings Rossini's comedic 'Le comte Ory' to ...
Arts
Opera Southwest will perform the composer's ... Opera Southwest will perform the composer's last comedy, 'Le comte Ory,' for three shows in February at the National Hispanic Cultural Center's Albuquerque Journal ...
3
Hip-hop artist Khalisol is just getting started after recent ...
Arts
New Mexico-based rapper continues to build ... New Mexico-based rapper continues to build brand, hopes to expand Southwest's footprint in music
4
Resist pruning roses now or they might suffer later
Arts
The kindest thing you can do ... The kindest thing you can do for roses right now will be to offer them water.
5
New interpretive ranger to explain the history, culture of ...
Arts
Interpretive rangers are responsible for interpreting ... Interpretive rangers are responsible for interpreting the history and culture of the sites through public programming and direct engagement.
6
Home improvement show, first responder cook-off highlight Rio Rancho ...
Arts
The Rio Rancho Events Center is ... The Rio Rancho Events Center is hosting The Rio Rancho Home Improvement Marketplace Show from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 4, and from 10 ...
7
British artist Damien Hirst explores the way of bushido ...
Arts
Richard Levy Gallery is showing 'The ... Richard Levy Gallery is showing 'The Virtues' by Damien Hirst, an exhibition of eight new prints, Feb. 4 through March 18.
8
'House Gods' goes beyond materials and designs, and glimpses ...
Arts
Jim Kristofic spent five years researching ... Jim Kristofic spent five years researching and writing 'House Gods.' It is based on his interviews – and apprenticeships – ...
9
Filmmakers follow local ensemble Baracutanga as they travel to ...
Arts
The filmmakers will join the band ... The filmmakers will join the band in its journey back home to Bolivia and capture the trip in a feature-length documentary to share with ...