Art Your Heart Out

Souk @ Sat Market Celebrates 10 Years of Local Artisans

  • The souk @ sat Christmas bazaar is celebrating its 10th year as a launchpad for local Montreal artists.

This time of year, with Christmas consumer fever hitting its peak on everyone’s collective thermometer, there’s no shortage of shopping venues hawking gifts to make the days of your loved ones merry and bright.

One holiday staple, the souk @ sat, is celebrating its 10th year of turning the Société des arts technologiques into the go-to place to find local products made by artists from Montreal and all over Quebec.

In a more traditional definition, a souk is a market place or commercial quarter set in the open air of Middle Eastern and North African cities. However, set in the frosty backdrop of Montreal, the souk takes on a different connotation entirely.

“When I first started the souk about 11 years ago, there were two different types of places where you could go to buy things that are made locally,” said Azamit, the local artist who continues to organize the event today.

“One was Salon des métiers d’art; the other one—it was all about who you knew. Who was the artist that you knew that was going to invite you to their loft?” he continued.

“The whole concept of buying local was not as big as it is today.”

Seeking a way to combine local artisan products with a sense of community, the first souk @ sat was organized. From the beginning, high standards for unique and well-made product have set it apart from other holiday marketplaces.

For the uninitiated and veterans alike, it’s a place to discover unique wares and gift ideas, everything from ceramics and clothing to food products and art deco. To keep things fresh, the souk has a very specific selection process each year.

“I don’t want the same taste or the same point of view every year—I want people to discover something new,” said Azamit.

The process consists of Azamit selecting a jury who judges the proposals of the artists hoping to make it into the event, to decide whether or not their work is souk-ready. Azamit says this standard is maintained not only because it’s healthy for artists to continue to create and grow, but because of the internationally-renowned status Montreal holds for art.

“When you say, ‘I’m from Montreal,’ it’s like saying, ‘I’m from London, I’m from Paris,’” she said. “Everything we select is hand-picked and good quality. You can travel around the world with it and be proud to say, ‘This is from Montreal.’”

This year’s edition of the marketplace features 106 artists. Plans for the event’s 10th anniversary began in early fall, and will feature something special to commemorate a decade of pushing Montrealers to buy local products and support local talent.

“[I’ve asked] 10 artists from 10 different fields to produce one item, in a limited edition of 10 pieces,” said Azamit.

These pieces will be for sale, but Azamit says there’s more to the souk @ sat than the chance to shop.

“It’s not just another market,” she said. “The artists—they’re not sitting behind their desk or their table trying to sell you things, they’re part of the crowd. It takes two seconds for you to get into this conversation, and then completely fall in love with the product and then go home with the product.”

Whether you’re looking for the perfect gift or just interested in the up-and-coming art scene this holiday season, the souk @ sat is the way to get out of the cold and into an entirely unique artisan experience.

Souk @ sat // Nov. 28 to Dec. 1 // the SAT (1201 St. Laurent Blvd.) // 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday // Free admission

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