There are still places that keep alive their essence and philosophy despite of the conflicts, migrations or colonization as for example Silvia, part of Cauca region and the third of Colombia’s communities with indigenous population. Wherever you look at, there is a bag or an indigenous backpack, fancy large black hats, blue ponchos, skirts or any other clothing item, woven by misak, nasa or guambianos women. Their wide range of colours is not random, they symbolize ancient histories and a whole worldview of mountains, rivers and plants landscapes.
The recent conflict scenery governed by FARC, ELN, military or drug dealers has been replaced by the marketplace, where the only sound is the hustle and bustle of the conversations between local people, barter trades and sales, the transport of the merchandise, etc.
There are plenty of ethnic groups living together and sharing their traditions, products and resources, but there is also a time of change even in the most faraway land. Part of the population emigrates to the cities with different purposes, searching for a better paid job or for an university career. Preserving local cultivations is increasingly difficult for local people who still remain at home.
María Jacinta Cuchillo Tunubalá, a guambiano weaving artisan is a witness of all negative and positive changes. She works together with other craftswomen in La Casa del Agua, also called “The Paradise”, the old residence of the famous drug dealer, Rodríguez Orejuela. The basketry workshops have turned into a way of living and regular income for all the envolved women. The project, called EnRedArte con Identidad and backed up by ONG Codespa, not only helps these women to strenghten their self-confidence and ensures them a regular income, but it offers them another perspective about their work by participating into exhibitions and help them become more competitive.
These workshops join together women of all ages, from five different communities. They apply their traditional techniques, search for new colours of dyes, patterns and fibres, while learning about their rights and obligations, self-confidence and their role in the family.
Some of these families have no electricity or running water, but they own a rich culture with a whole universe of symbols and an outstanding know-how of the weaving tradition. On Guambianos territory, where the two lagoons come into one, the great world news on the radio are mixed with people’s usual conversations about relationships, the colour of the woven items and the daily tasks. For these artisan women, full of creativity, white keep symbolizing peace, red means blood and blue is water.
In 2012, PET Lamp project have started its journey to the heart of Cauca region where several Guambiano artisan women belonging to families displaced by guerrilla war added shape and colour to the lamps designed by Alvaro Catalan de Ocon. In their wool and cotton weaving they reflected the character and symbolism of their country and culture. We can still remember the Colombian sky reflected in the blue colour of the woven lampshades.
More info and source: El País