Innovation That Matters

Online marketplace showcases African artists and their stories


Regular Springwise readers are already well-acquainted with the power of a good product. Many of the street artists to be found in South Africa are refugees and others from different parts of the continent who are struggling to make a living, such as by selling their creations at busy intersections. Cape Town-based African Cartel hopes to help these creatives by providing a platform on which they can not only market and sell their wares, but also tell their own stories. A wide variety of handmade artwork is available on the site, including a variety of media, but special requests are possible as well. Also featured on the site are the stories of the artists themselves, with details of their origins and aspirations. Visitors to African Cartel, which launched earlier this month, are invited to support those artists by donating supplies as well as suggesting new artists for inclusion. A video on Vimeo explains the premise in more detail. Eventually, African Cartel hopes to help establish workshop space for the struggling artists it represents, and it invites donations toward that end. In the meantime, its combination of product life stories, (still) made here appeal and social entrepreneurship is a compelling one. Time to get involved — or emulate the site with something similar for struggling local artists in your part of the world? (Related: Design-your-own accessories with a choice of knitting granniesRFID tags used to attach stories to charity shop’s donated waresObjects’ stories, trackable & brought to life online.) Spotted by: Chris Rault



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