Thursday, April 19, 2018

En Route To Grenada And Other Fair Trade Chocolate News

A friend of mine and fellow PAFA alum sent me this beautiful card. In the self-care box, I ordered NibMor sweets. They offered a cordial packet of Mint Hot Chocolate. 
Remember back in October when I introduced work in progress of my fair trade chocolate bar paintings interacting with the short-lived Still Star Crossed characters here?
The passion is deepening. I have started researching projects for my Fulbright application (scary long process). Women in Africa own chocolate companies. They're proving that marginalized bodies are not picking cacao pods out of dangerous territories and exporting to Europe and North America. These women are processing their country's primary resources and selling their efforts in their homelands, giving to their people in the most nurturing ways. Selassie Atadika sells Midunu Chocolates in Ghana (will email her about vegan options) as well as sisters Kimberly and Priscilla Addison of 57 Chocolates (named after the year of Ghana's independence and they have four vegan flavors). Plus Jaki Kweba of Tanzania co-founded the first and only indigenous company of fine chocolate, Chocolate Mama's Gourmet.
Thus, I am looking at Ghana and Tanzania for host countries and researching possible projects. 

Mint cat print dress with dried cherry chocolate sweetness. I still believe that NibMor have the best cherry bar out right now next to the wonderful treasure, ChocoSol Traders Mon Cherry Amour, a 65% cacao chocolate cherry decadence.
 My dream is to be this woman, surrounded in colorful cacao pods, enjoying the Caribbean sun.
When a co-worker told me about the Grenada Chocolate Festival, I was pleased to hear such an event existed. An actual days long festival dedicated to chocolate? It sounded incredible. While events such as chocolate yoga, chocolate as beauty ingredient, chocolate tastings, chocolate festival, and chocolate extravaganza serenaded a chocolaty siren's song it was the "Farmer for a Day" that excited me most of all. To trek through terrain where cacao pods grow, to crack open a pod and see the seeds up close, to meet farmers on plantations... I have always imagined being the brown woman version of Charlie Buckett, scoring the golden ticket to the lay of the chocolate land, a land that Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory hadn't acknowledged, a land of brown farmers and colorful cacao pods, the origins of great wealth and fascination. 
Maybe perhaps, I could have scored an invitation somehow. I filled out the comment form and prayed to hear back. No response. I looked up artist/writing travel grants (some of course were expired and others dispersing funds way after the festival).
I created a GoFundMe in hopes of attaining the remaining funds for the Grenada Chocolate Festival ticket, accommodation, and other arriving expenses. This experience will further strengthen my Fulbright application-- finally seeing and being around the cacao pod environment. Any amount would be helpful and greatly appreciated.

Sketch inspired by the Grenada Chocolate Festival website advertisement, an afrogirl surrounded in cacao pods. Yes, I've been having a few dreams lately of finding myself in the same sea, finding cacao pods like cocoons for butterflies to grow and prosper. I will make a watercolor version for the GoFundMe thank you cards and pray that it has the same infectious joy as this little litho crayon drawing.

Finished "Afro Chocoholic In Cacao Pod Heaven" stone before first and second etching. Just litho crayons. I wanted to try out some washes. Maybe next stone? I am making a limited edition of 30 prints (on good quality animal free Fabriano paper) and they'll be offered for $50 rewards on my GoFundMe.
Face close up. The hair was my favorite part, darkening the afro and scratching out the whites with a knife.

The prints are coming out beautifully.
Making the edition. 
I end the day with my last NibMor treat, the Mint Hot Drinking Chocolate. It's rich and creamy with a light mint flavor. I added the mix to a pot of hot water (not boiling) and a bit of unsweetened almond milk. There is no need for extra sweetener. It's perfect and divine.
Hot chocolate fogging the lens.

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