Karin le RouxDirector, Omba Arts Trust

Karin le Roux is the founder Director of the Omba Arts Trust, a registered fair trade organization in Namibia that aims to support the sustainable livelihoods of marginalized communities. Supporting artisans from eight regions in Namibia, Omba has showcased artists from four distinct Namibian tribes at IFAM.

The Omba Arts Trust has not only helped rural artisans develop contemporary products utilizing traditional skills but also has revived ancient San traditions like ostrich eggshell bead-making.  Omba provides a regular and reliable income to rural artisans who have limited opportunities for employment. Omba’s artisans and artists produce a range of strikingly innovative—and astonishingly beautiful—items, from baskets to jewelry.


IFAM Virtual One World Gala & Auction Video

Artist Keynote Talk: Anita Reddy, India
The DWARAKA Movement: How Art Transformed Communities.
The not-for-profit and artisan-owned Society DWARAKA PLUS (Development of Weavers and Rural Artisans in Kalamkari Art) was founded in 1998 by Anita Reddy along with her father Dwaraknath Reddy to revive the dying hand-painted art form of kalamkari, build a sustainable platform for the artisan communities and empower women with livelihood programs along with rejuvenating the entire region (Srikalahasti of Andhra Pradesh, South India) DWARAKA PLUS’s artists are experts in the ancient traditional form of Kalamkari, a medium native to both Iran and India by which fabric is painted entirely by hand.

Artist Talk: Porfirio Gutierrez, Mexico, The Importance of Innovation in Folk Art
Porfirio Gutiérrez is a proud descendant of many generations of Zapotec weavers from Teotitlán del Valle in Oaxaca, Mexico. At age 12, His father, who was already a master weaver, saw his potential and took every opportunity to help him develop and refine his artistic skills as a weaver. Stories told by his elders about cultural rituals, ceremonies, and the Zapotec way of life in the past, have influenced his personal expression through art. His work has now been shown in eight countries on four continents. While primarily an artist, Gutiérrez also lectures on Zapotec weaving and natural dyes at universities, arts foundations, and museums. 

Artist Talk: Rashmi Bharti, India, Avani Earthcraft
The Economics of Happiness, Self Reliance, and Sustainability
Avani Earthcraft was founded in 1997 by Rashmi Bharti. For over 20 years, Avani has revived traditional textiles, many from the Shauka community, a nomadic group known for thulma— semi-felted woolen blankets — and chukta, a type of rug. Today, Avani Earthcraft works hard to preserve these and other traditional styles while introducing new, economically, and environmentally responsible products, as well as harvesting natural dyes from local plants. Avani Earthcraft’s careful production processes use only clean energy and organically sourced material. 

Craft Informs Design: A Conversation with Peter Speliopoulos and Paul Andrew
As part of the International Folk Art Market “Virtual One World” event, Lauren Lancy from THE KINDCRAFT will moderate a conversation with Peter Speliopoulos and Paul Andrew on July 9th about the importance of folk art and how craft has informed their design processes throughout their careers. Peter Speliopoulos is a multidisciplinary artist creating ceramics and home objects for Peter Speliopoulos Projects which is based in New York. His influences are founded in his experience as a fashion designer, creative director, and costume designer for opera and dance. Paul Andrew is an English fashion designer who designed alongside iconic fashion designers before launching his eponymous footwear line. He is now the Creative Director at Salvatore Ferragamo and lives between Florence, Italy and New York City.