TWO CULTURES IN ONE ONLY PIECE
NAJASH has been created with the aim to contribute, through its designs and products, to the social and cultural development of these Colombian indigenous communities, paying what we consider a fair price for each carefully handmade piece of their traditional handicraft.
The WAYUU or GUAJIROS (in the ARAHUACO language meaning “Sir, Master, powerful man”) are Colombian aborigins living since ancient times on the Guajira peninsula on the shore of the Carribean Sea. Their language originates from the linguistic group of the ARAWAK idioms.
It is traditionally their women who weave the so-called “mochilas”, passing on their art and knowledge from generation to generation, thus establishing themselves as the main source of the family livelihood.
Many of the designs woven into each mochila show the elements of nature surrounding the WAYUU, their animals, the sun, the plants they are used to, and the stars, and last – but not least – they represent their spiritual beliefs.
The designing and weaving of just one mochila takes about a fortnight and is totally handmade by one woman from beginning to end.- We work directly with each one of them, paying a good and fair price for theit wonderful art and contributing socially to the wellbeing of their communities.-
The EMBERA CHAMI are a Southamerican indigenous people dwelling on some areas of the Colombian Pacific coastline and bordering zones. They share their name EMBERA CHAMI with all those indigenous who occupy the west and central “cordilleras” (mountain range) of the Colombian Andes, living therefore in the departments of Antioquia, Caldas, Risaralda, Quindío and Valle.
An outstanding feature of their traditions is their communication with the spirits “jai”, through the guidance of the jaibanás, chamanes who teach their wisdom to each new generation. It is important to know that the jaibanás do not inherit their position, but submit to the teachings of experienced masters, who reveal to them the spiritual force and power that guides life itself, health, survival and nature.
The spirits JAI are divided in three groups: the DOJURA, spirits of the water, together with the WANDRA, mothers of animals and plants living and growing in the headwaters of rivers;
then there are the ANTUMIÁ, spirits of the deep rain forests; the third group are the spirits JAI responsible for the wild animals of the rain forest, considered seats for the transformed souls of human beings after their death.
The traditional handicraft of the EMBERA CHAMÍ is to weave on homemade looms using “mostacilla” or “palo barba de indio”of different colours. “Mostacilla” is the common name for Cynophalla flexuosa, a bush or tree bearing fruit in the form of long threads, thus providing the wonderful natural material for the weaving. Under the busy hands of the EMBERA CHAMÍ it is transformed into geometric designs, into images of animals and into linear drawings inspired in their spiritual beliefs and their God KARAVI.
The weaving of every piece is handmade by each craftsman, and the time employed depends of course on the size, the figures and the colour combination required.
We work directly with the leader of each family group, and the work is distributed in fairness among the whole community.