Classical Liberian artwork was again over the weekend seen in a unique display at the 10th Biannual US Embassy Art and Craft Fair in Monrovia.
The occasion was an amazing one for participants to see how beautiful the Liberian Culture can be when explored through Art.
To some of the art dealers, like Mr. Thomas, it was just the beginning of another market opportunity created by the US Embassy for artistic Liberians to get involved in marketing their work.
The fair brought together more than 100 Arts and Crafts vendors from across Monrovia, with different religions, political and socio-economic backgrounds into total unity.
The fair was a well-organized event with the sale of hand made cups made from coconut shell, garments, toy bamboo houses and cars. There was also hipster and shoulder bags made from African fabric, cow bone jewelry; carved wooden chests, chairs and the traditional devil masks.
In addition, there were woven baskets made from fabric, beaded jewelry made from recycled glass and flowerpots. Hand-made quilts and paintings that detail life in Liberia were also added.
Shelia Paskam, the Deputy Chief of Mission at the US Embassy said,
“We believe that in order for the Liberian economy to grow, we have to promote Small and Medium Enterprises (SME). This is a business and culture fair for Liberian artists,” she added.
She stated further that the art at the fair is the creative expression of men and women who spent a lot of time in perfecting their artwork.
“The US Embassy in Monrovia remains grateful to be part of the process of helping to maintain the culture tradition of Liberia,” she added.
Though many onlookers thought the cost of some art items appeared too costly, foreigners largely purchased most of the artwork.
James Budu Prowd, a physically challenged artist who specializes in the making of Liberian slippers and baboon house thought,
”The fair helped us to express our creativity as artists and market our artifacts to generate revenue for our businesses,” he said.
Jenney Fayia, a 17-year-old who also showcased her artistic works agreed with James.
“We get connection as artists from such an event and learn from each other’s talent in improving our own creativity. I hope our government could host many fair like this one in the near future,” she added.
Also present was Wytchen Barrolle, the marketing supervisor at the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism. She said that the US Embassy annual fair is a reminder to the Liberian Government to hold such events.
“Its our duty to promote these fairs for our own culture and not leaving it with other people to take on our responsibility. Ordinary Liberians are ignorant to these exhibitions and therefore, they don’t turnout to support their own art fairs,” she added.
Also at the fair was Mr. Fato Wheremonger, a vendor representative.
“We as Liberian artists need our own cultural village and when this is done, it will increase opportunity for tourism in Liberia,” he added.