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Friday, May 28, 2004

Africa as a Market - The Bead Trade

Cordelia Salter, Founder of eShopAfrica.com coordinated an exhibition of antique trade beads collected in Africa which was on display at FAO Headquarters in Rome during Africa week 24 - 28 May 2004. She also gave a lunchtime seminary on Africa and the bead trade. The beads that were on display tell an interesting story. Many of the designs were highly localised with beads of a particular colour being manufactured for a particular region of Africa. Fakes were common and both Venetian and Bohemian bead makers were skilled at reproducing beads which had a high value in Africa such as granite and coral.

The bead factories retained agents all over the continent who sent beads that were popular in Africa back to Europe to be copied. The exhibition had many examples of both the African originals and European copies.

The exhibition also showed that although the European bead industry fell into decline in the last century, the designs are still being reproduced in Africa today although the African bead makers use different processes.

Design Competition 04, Rome, Italy

In partnership with Afram, (UN African Amicale), eShopAfrica.com held the Design Competition Judging and Award ceremony at FAO on Friday May 28th as part of the UN Africa week celebrations. The theme was "Trade and Opportunities" 

Art and design students from international schools in Rome were challenged to design products suitable for western markets that incorporated traditional African arts and crafts. The students were shown a variety of African arts and crafts and told about the lives of the artisans. The response was fantastic with a total of 104 entries. The students came up with some truly original ideas.

A special thank you to the art teachers who worked with us to make this competition possible:

Dennis Cigler, High School Art Teacher
Marymount International School

Francesca Godfrey, Art Teacher
The New School

Greg Morgan, High School Art Teacher
St George's International School

Mauro Brooks, Middle School Art Teacher
Marymount International School

The Judges
Daniela Petroff-Simpson, the Associated Press Fashion writer who covers the Italian fashion scene was the Jury Coordinator. Judges were asked to award points on the following criteria:

Incorporation of African materials
Suitability for markets
Overall Impression

Other judges included Sheila Sisulu, Deputy Executive Director of the World Food Programme and Zeinab Gregorio,President of the African Women's Group.

The exhibit and award ceremony was attended by the BBC journalist Jenny Horrocks and was featured in the BBC World Service Radio Programme Artbeat during the week of 3rd June 2004.

Jenny Horrocks (right), editor of the BBC World Service Radio Programme ArtBeat with Father Chinedu Anieke and Cordelia Salter of eShopAfrica.com

The Winning Entries

The standard of the entries was very high and the judges had a tough time making their decision. Congratulations to the winners below and a big THANK YOU to everyone who entered.

Overall winners

1st prize: A Kente Shawl and 100 Euro Amazon Gift Token
"Beaded bag" by Maria Grade 12 Marymount International School

2nd prize: A Mudcloth Shawl and 50 Euro Amazon Gift Token
"Lion Head CD Stand" by Alex Grade 9 Marymount International School

3rd prize: An Ethiopian Shawl and 25 Euro Amazon Gift Token
"Chess Set" by Constanza Grade 6 Marymount International School

Grade Prizes
Each Grade prize received a Kente Strip

Grade 6 1st Place
"Panther Box" by Alif, New School

Grade 6 2nd Place
"African Table Mat" by Lehua, New School

Grade 6 3rd Place
"African Star Clock" by Alessandro, New School

Grade 7 Joint 1st Place

"Tesscam Lamp" by Tess & Camille, Marymount

Grade 7 2nd Place
"The Elly Lampshade" by Emilia, Marymount

Grade 7 3rd Place
"Secret Book" by Gabriel, Marymount

Grade 8 1st Place
"Poncho" by Teresa, Marymount

Grade 8 2nd Place
"School Bag" by Lidia, Marymount

Grade 8 3rd Place
"Cricket Cupboard" by Rizan, Marymount

Grade 9 1st Place
"Hat" by Stefania, Marymount

Grade 9 2nd Place
"Bed-side Table" by Galteera, Marymount

Grade 9 3rd Place
"Taily Key Holders" by Blaine, Marymount

Grade 11 1st Place
"Relax Chair" by Thais, Marymount

Grade 11 2nd Place
"Jewel of the Savannah" by Caroline, St Georges

Grade 11 3rd Place
"African Star Card" by Laura, New School

Grade 12 1st Place
"African Cloth Beautiful Belts" by Vittoria, Marymount

Grade 12 2nd Place
"Voodoo Night Handbag" by Francesca, Marymount

Grade 12 3rd Place
"Easy Assemble Canopy Bed" by Naila, Marymount

Monday, May 17, 2004

Hilary Benn supports eShopAfrica

Following an email correspondence concerning ecommerce and the barriers to trade for African artisans, eShopAfrica.com has received a letter of support from the UK Secretary of State for Development, Hilary Benn MP. Read the letter

Wednesday, May 5, 2004

Feedback: Musical Instruments: Lee Bagby, US

I am so totally happy with all of the djembe's. Pure works of art. So thank you so very much for all of your help along the way. It's been a pleasure.