Celebrating local handicrafts
PANAMA. The biggest gathering of Panamanian craftsmen, the XXXII National Crafts Fair will be celebrated this May 27 – 31 at the ATLAPA...
PANAMA. The biggest gathering of Panamanian craftsmen, the XXXII National Crafts Fair will be celebrated this May 27 – 31 at the ATLAPA convention center, as Panamanians from across the country showcase their work to a national and international audience.
The fair aims to provide an outlet for local craftsmen to exhibit their products, introducing them to interested local customers, and to establishing relationships to export their goods.
Throughout the years, this showcase has become a fundamental window of exposure for Panamanian traditions and culture, as well as an indispensable source of income for local craftsmen.
According to the Handicrafts General Directive of the Ministry of Commerce and Industries, in charge of the fair, the first fair was held in the El Dorado Mall. Thirty two years later, the tradition still stands.
Similar to previous years, more than 400 craftsmen from Ngobe Bugle, Kuna Yala, Embera-Wounaan and across the country will participate.
All those hoping to showcase their work will receive free transportation and lodging from the Ministry, which hopes to extend a helping hand amidst the global international crisis, and expects the crafts people to focus their energy and resources in the quality of their exhibits.
Among the crafts available at the fair will be “molas”, “chaquiras” (jewelry), handmade baskets, taguas, folkloric dresses, and ceramics, pottery, leather, and wood work.
One of the biggest highlights will certainly be the “molas,” made by the Kuna women of San Blas and depicting animal figures and Panamanian fauna, as well as geometric symbols and signs of the mythical world of the indigenous community.
Attendees will also enjoy presentations by more than 80 folkloric groups and artists, including Samy y Sandra Sandoval, and Tito Vargas, and the fair will offer typical Panamanian food.
Last year, more than 300,000 people visited, and organizers hope to surpass that figure this year.
According to the Handicrafts General Directive, every year the fair requires an initial government investment of around $200,000, which is more than quadrupled in handicrafts sales.
Tickets to the exhibits are $2 for adults, and $1 for children and retirees. The fair is open from 10:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.