Afternoon falls on Cucurumana, in northern Colombia, yellow is intertwined with crimson and she continues weaving without feeling the passing hours or the stifling heat. Under the divi-divi tree, her hands weave constantly at a slow pace with a cadence marked by the comings and goings of the thread of colors. The red thread appears, the black thread disappears, and white stitches frame a graphic that is slowly revealing.
Shaio is 30 years-old, she is a woman who belongs to the wayuu indigenous people, which inhabits the Guajira Peninsula at the northern end of Colombia. Her whole life has been dedicated to weaving in crochet of bags and hammocks for her family, and her community. Her hands dominate an ancestral technique where is transmitted the cultural heritage of several wayuu generations.
Legend has it that Wale-keru, a spider, taught how to weave to the first wayuu woman. This woman transmitted her knowledge to her daughter and her daughter to her granddaughter. Kanas, is called to the maximum expression of the wayuu weaving, is the most ancient art of this community. The wayuu indigenous peoples express their vision of the world and life in each bag. The elements of nature are represented in graphic geometric abstractions that are characterized by its exuberant beauty and color.
The Guajira weather is severe. The heat reaches 40 degrees Celsius; the land is arid and the dust covers all rancherías corners. The traditions and lifestyle of this community remain untouched despite the passing of time. Women are very important within their society, their character has been forged over time, they are independent and strong. Weaving bags has enabled them to express their feelings. Through colors and shapes they tell their path through the world, their sorrows, their pain, their joy and their dreams. In each bag there is a piece of their soul and heart that is interlaced in the colors of the weave. These bags are unique, no two are alike, each pattern and each combination of colors is unrepeatable. These bags are matchless; as well as wayuu women.
Night after night under the moon in the Caribbean, these creations reach life through the skill and dedication of the wayuu indigenous peoples. Shaio in her silence continues weaving until she finishes a wayuu bag that takes a bit of her soul to fill the world with color.
The wayuu bags are among the elements of the Colombian culture. They are a national pride. In addition, they are known worldwide, as they have taken the colors of our country over the world. Each bag is done in two weeks of hard work by a wayuu woman. Najash endorses and supports each one of them, who receive fair payment for their work. Najash exalts the values of these women and admires the greatness of their skills.