Something New: Creating Art and Community

By: Abigail Stephenson

What comes to mind when you think of the word “new?” Perhaps it's a new item from a store, the beginning of a new job, a new business that has opened, or maybe a new opportunity. The word “new” can have many connotations, but to talented women of Madagascar, “new” is symbolic of the communal lifestyle that is cultivated and the artistic creations that are fabricated by the women. Over fourty women are a part of the family of “Mama Vao Vao,” which means “Mother of Something New.” The women of Mama Vao Vao utilize their skills of sewing and craftsmanship to create beautiful products as well as the opportunity for a new way of community and income.

Started in 2017, Mama Vao Vao exists to share the work of Malagasy artisans and create honest work for women living in a country where prostition is legal. The slogan of Mama Vao Vao, “Every stitch tells a story,” emphasizes the primary focus of the artist behind the product. The products they create are 100% hand-crafted and sold to support the women, their family, and childrens’ school fees.

Supporting Mama Vao Vao artisans gifts you with a new product, contributes to the income of the women, and connects you to the artisan, as each product they make is marked by the artist’s name. The mission of Mama Vao Vao parallels with AlterNarrative’s vision to reach beyond fair trade to connect with the artisans themselves.

Furthermore, the partnership of AlterNarrative and Mama Vao Vao seeks to establish the connection between the buyer and artist and foster the belief that behind each product there is a creator, an artisan, a story. This partnership promotes the trade of a new product, a new lifestyle, and a new way of connecting to stories across the world.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published