Celebrate the diverse cultures represented at the One Journey Festival by browsing our Global Marketplace where refugee artisans, artists, and entrepreneurs showcase their artistic talents, creative perspectives, and international products. Vendors range from refugee artists and craftspeople to organizations selling refugee-made or ethnic items to help displaced people. Here are just a few spotlights of the many incredible entrepreneurs and artists represented on June 24.
Ahmed Alkarkhi - Artist
Ahmed Alkarkhi received a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts from the University of Baghdad in 2001, and since then his work has been featured in galleries and exhibitions in the greater D.C. area and beyond for almost two decades. Through all of those years, his art has focused on telling the stories of everyday folks and the many walks of life that they inhabit, including his own.
Ahmed loves being by the water, where the music of the waves provides a meditative backdrop for his art and his life. His brush strokes open a window into the world as he sees it, and while it is often a world filled with disaster and despair, Ahmed wants those who view his work to also see the love and hope that brings people together in pursuit of a brighter future.
To make that brighter future a reality, there is a need to build a community that embraces and encourages refugees as they pursue this for their families, which is an idea that Ahmed recognizes and contributes to gladly.
“They have lost their loved ones, their homes, and their homelands, and they need us to stand by them to help them start life and hope again.”
Anatolian Artisans came about in 1999 when its founder, Yildiz Yagci, noticed a distinct lack of awareness surrounding women in Turkey who were crafting, creating, and curating handmade goods. As a journalist, Yildiz felt compelled to shine a light on the incredible work that these women were doing, and as the years passed, her mission evolved from helping Turkish women to helping all women in Turkey, residents and refugees alike.
Today, Anatolian Artisans contributes in a variety of ways to enrich the lives of women in Turkey, whether it’s via workshops that teach them to make jewelry and embroidered goods, or guidance through the process of starting, maintaining, and marketing their own businesses. These courses are often taught by experts in their respective fields who are brought to Turkey by the organization solely to pass on their skills and knowledge to refugees and displaced persons in need.
Both Anatolian Artisans and One Journey share a common cause in their missions to elevate the voices and accomplishments of those members of our international community who are in need. Yildiz hopes that her partnership with One Journey will expand her ability to support and enrich the lives of refugees and women in Turkey.
Elizabeth Soda, the creator of Article 22, started her journey in sustainable fashion in 2010 after an eye-opening trip to Laos, where she came face to face with the devastating consequences of America’s secret bombing campaign in the country during the Vietnam War. Since then, she and the folks at Article 22 have worked tirelessly to create a safer environment in which Laotian people can raise their families and to bring economic opportunities for those impacted by the war.
Through their first collection, PEACEBOMB, Article 22 is partnering with the Mines Advisory Group, a nongovernmental organization working to clear the 80 million unexploded mines, bombs, and grenades that litter the Laotian landscape. Once they are disarmed and melted into scrap, Article 22 reshapes these tools of war into beautiful pieces of fine jewelry, the proceeds of which go on to continue the cycle by financially supporting the clearance of more unexploded ordnance.
Article 22 hopes that, by providing the market with a product that directly benefits the people of Laos, they can contribute to building a network of socially conscious consumers and partners that extends across the globe. Their goal of transformative craftsmanship, of “doing some good with something that did harm,” is truly admirable. This year marks a significant milestone in Article 22’s mission as 2023 marks the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War.
Created in 2015 by Tamara Barnabei, ARTTEPUYDC has been striving to showcase the fierce creativity, character, and resiliency of artists, artisans, and craftspeople across Venezuela. Tamara’s primary motivations behind ARTTEPUY have been her connection to the indigenous communities of Venezuela, the Warao Culture in particular, and her goal of preserving her country’s rich cultural heritage.
According to Tamara, the platform has developed to be “a place where those who have emigrated can find a piece of their country and not feel so far from them.” ARTTEPUY has expanded to include artisans from Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Columbia and continues to work with Venezuelan immigrants and refugees. Each one of a kind piece showcases diverse Latin American cultures and the talent and quality of the artisans’ work and empowers artisans through fair trade practices and the use of sustainable products.
ARTTEPUY is partnering with One Journey to bring visibility to the culture and stories of refugees and migrants and to make a meaningful impact. You can also find ARTTEPUYDC on Etsy and also at La Cosecha in DC’s Union Market District and immerse yourself in the vibrant cultural offerings of this growing business.
From Egypt with Love
Mostafa Ahmed’s father, Epy, began crafting handmade pieces of fine jewelry when he was just a
boy of nine. He devoted his entire life to the craft, and in the process his reputation spread across all of Cairo. Although Mostafa originally began making jewelry alongside his father and grandfather, today he carries on that legacy himself through his own venture, From Egypt With Love.
By crafting his jewelry with his own two hands, and in the same style as his father and grandfather before him, Mostafa continues a family tradition that has been alive since 1955. Although he no longer lives in Egypt, Mostafa continues spreading the unique charm of his heritage and his people here in the United States.
Mostafa came to the United States in 2015, and has been a part of the One Journey community since 2019. Being able to share the tradition and culture behind his craft with refugees and supporters alike at the festival brings him immense joy, and he looks forward to meeting and celebrating with folks from around the world once again this year.
You can see what all of these organizations and businesses have to offer and so much more at the One Journey Festival on Saturday, June 24 at the Washington National Cathedral. Get your free tickets to this full day of celebration, food, shopping and fun HERE. Out of town? Can’t make the Festival? Shop for a cause and purpose on our virtual marketplace HERE.