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The Work of Art - Folk Artists in the 21st Century

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Product Description

The Work of Art invites readers to understand and invest in the living legacy of folk art as a way to participate in the human story of the handmade––and to make a meaningful impact on lives worldwide.

This lavishly-illustrated book by Carmella Padilla (Available July, 2013) examines the role of folk artists in the twenty-first century, recognizing their power as creative and socially responsible champions for global change, connection, and cultural sustainability.

Through interviews with folk artists from Mali to Madagascar to Cuba, Peru, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, and beyond, Padilla introduces us to individuals and communities who are using their handmade traditions to overcome poverty, gender inequity, environmental degradation, ethnic conflict, and limited opportunities for political, educational, and social advancement.

At the heart of this story is the work of the International Folk Art Market in Santa Fe, New Mexico, which, since its inception in 2004, has become a major force in the personal and economic empowerment of more than a million international folk artists and their communities.

The book celebrates the extraordinary achievement of the International Folk Art Market as a profound point of connection, education, and exchange for folk artists and consumers, as well as an inspirational model for other markets the world over.

With nearly 200 photographs of folk artists and their creations, including a gallery of images of folk art masterworks, The Work of Art is an elegant and thoughtful examination of folk art and artists that emphasizes its relevance for all who value ideals of beauty, history, diversity, and community.

THE WORK OF ART: Folk Artists in the 21st Century by Carmella Padilla
Introduction by Indrasen Vencatachellum
Gallery photography by John Bigelow Taylor
Principal International Folk Art Market Photography by Judith Cooper Haden, David Moore and Bob Smith
264 pages, 160 images
Published by IFAA Media
Distributed by the Museum of New Mexico Press*

Hard cover: $60, Soft cover: $29.95

More about the book and author:

Carmella Padilla is a Santa Fe-based author and journalist who writes extensively about intersections in art, culture, and history in New Mexico and beyond. Her articles have been published in the Wall Street Journal, Dallas Morning News, American Craft, Travel Holiday, Latina and elsewhere.Her books include El Rancho de las Golondrinas: Living History in New Mexico’s La Cíenega Valley; Low ‘n Slow: Lowriding in New Mexico; The Chile Chronicles: Tales of a New Mexico Harvest (all with photographer Jack Parsons); and Conexiones: Connections in Spanish Colonial Art (with Donna Pierce). Padilla, who helped launch the International Folk Art Market in 2004, is a recipient of the Santa Fe Mayor’s Award for Excellence in Literary Arts and the New Mexico Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts, the state’s highest artistic honor.


Indrasen Vencatachellum (Foreword author) is an independent consultant and expert in international culture, craft, design, and creative industries. Born in Mauritius, he received a Master of Arts degree at the Sorbonne before serving as Director of Cultural Cooperation at the African Cultural Institute in Senegal. From 1988 to 2008, he was UNESCO’s Director of the Program for the Promotion of Crafts and Design, during which time he created the UNESCO Craft Prize to reward creative artisans. He has been an active supporter of the International Folk Art Market since its inception. He has also edited practical guides for policy makers, promoters, and cultural entrepreneurs on crafts, craft trade fairs, artisans and design. He currently lives in Paris.


Praise for THE WORK OF ART: Folk Artists in the 21st Century:

“This global panorama of the contemporary folk arts scene celebrates the astounding diversity and vitality of traditional art forms in this era of globalization and high-tech. It is also a moving tribute to the achievements of the International Folk Art Market. . . . [It] will inform and delight specialists as well as the general public.”
—Francesco Bandarin, Assistant Director-General for Culture, UNESCO

“Nothing inspires me more than the freedom to express and the offering of individuality. I believe that art is the soul of culture and is something precious that must be preserved. The Work of Art carries this message so poignantly. Art is the essence of everything. Art is the answer."
—Donna Karan, Founder, Donna Karan International, Urban Zen Foundation

“This beautiful book tells the story of the bold vision and hope of the International Folk Art Market—to bring the importance of artisan work into the light.  . . . the Market leads the way in recognition of this critical sector.”
—Peggy Clark, Vice President, Aspen Institute, Director, The Alliance for Artisan  Enterprise

“The resonant message of The Work of Art, a compelling tribute to modern-day folk artists, is the vital and timely need to support the beauty, history, and social opportunity of folk art. It is also the mission of the International Folk Art Market, whose broad global implications include the empowerment of women, education, social justice, and improved quality of life, especially in developing economies. The Work of Art deepens those connections and inspires us to strengthen our commitment to the art and cultural sustainability of the world’s folk artists.”       
—Valerie Plame Wilson, author, Fair Game, and Former US Ambassador Joseph Wilson 

“The International Folk Art Market is a big idea that deserves a lasting record of its inception and maturation into a remarkable global marketplace. In this book, Padilla captures the essence of the Market’s vision of an artist-centered enterprise and its inspiring impact on folk artists’ lives. . . . [She] gives the reader a close-up look into the complex issues that folk artists face at home . . . and alerts us about what we, as folk art aficionados and consumers, can do to encourage and support the vitality of these irreplaceable arts.”
—Marsha Bol, Director, 
Museum of International Folk Art

“To be amongst these artists, and to see their work and begin to understand their beautiful cultures is to know for certain that we . . . are . . .  capable of forging bonds of the heart with all peoples . . . This exceptional book stands as a witness to that glorious hope––it is a must for everyone who longs for sanity and love and beauty in our much-beleaguered world.” 
Ali MacGraw, actor, activist, and longtime International Folk Art Market volunteer 

“For a decade now, the International Folk Art Market has brought the world’s finest folk artists to Santa Fe.  The Work of Art is a celebration of those unique artists, of the cultural diversity that enriches our community, and the living traditions of art that inspire us.”
US Senator Tom Udall


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