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Fair Trade for AfA

January 25, 2009

December 2008

There is an amazing responsibility and incredible potential that comes with being part of Artfully AWARE (AfA). We, as Artfully AWARE, are tied together by a common belief that people suffering in less developed communities deserve a better life. We believe that art is a means of empowering these communities. And we believe that this progress can be achieved in a way that is responsible, sustainable and just.

Justin Igala Painting on Bark Cloth

Justin Igala Painting on Bark Cloth

All too often, people born into disadvantaged situations are cruelly manipulated by those in positions of power. They are not paid fair wages, nor given fair prices for goods or talents.  Working conditions can be unhealthy, even dangerous. Sadly, such unfair treatment prevents any real hope of personal or community progress.

The Fair Trade Federation (FTF) is a growing movement of people that say “No more!” The FTF was founded in an effort to prevent unfair manipulation of trade. The FTF incorporates a wide variety of standards in areas such as fair labor, environmental and economic sustainability and child labor protection. If a producer or retailer continues to uphold these standards over two years of operation, the FTF approves Fair Trade Registration status.

As a producer, Artfully AWARE fully embraces these standards of operation. With the help of the Cooperation for Fair Trade in Africa (COFTA), the branch of the FTF that deals with trade in Africa, Artfully AWARE is learning how to become a part of this progressive movement in trade. We continue to gain a better understanding of the needs of traders in impoverished areas of the world through the seminars, workshops, and training that COFTA offers. With this guidance, AfA is building business practices that are fair and sustainable. Artfully AWARE anticipates full eligibility for Fair Trade Registration status when we reach our two year anniversary requirement of trading.

So what does it mean to be Artfully AWARE? To be Artfully AWARE is to believe in the power of art as a tool for community and personal empowerment. Most importantly, it means to commit to the practice of this belief in a way that is fair, just and responsible. The standard is high and so are the stakes. A better life should not be a privilege. It is something that all people should have the opportunity to achieve.

Tracey Sykes Chaplin
Fair Trade Consultant

Tracey is the Sales Director of Signature Gallery of Huntsville, Alabama,
which received a Niche rating of top twenty-five galleries in the United States.

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