Night after night, Eloi, a young woman from the Embera indigenous community keeps repeating the same dream. Her community that has lived for more than 100 years in the rainy central cordillera of Colombia is constituted of men and women who have survived to the severity of the weather, as well as the passage of time and modernization. Their traditions lies untouched, they honor their ancestors by respecting their ideology, lifestyle and beliefs.
In the tambo or Embera community space, men engaged in hunting, fishing and agriculture. Women are responsible for the collection, domestic activities, the upbringing of the youngest and the creation of handicrafts. In addition, the dressmaking has always been a feminine handicraft. From years back they have designed necklaces, bracelets, earrings and body jewelry with seeds, stones, bones, animals’ teeth and objects that were in the forest. Over time, accessories have been created with materials that are easier to manipulate, beads are rich in colors that allows them to represent the wealth of their culture.
Eloi, along with a group of young people from Embera, dedicates every morning to create necklaces, bracelets and knitting with colorful beads. The blue one represents the sky, the red one represents the blood, the yellow one represents gold and the sun, the white one represents peace. The geometric patterns that can be created with this woven beads technique are infinite and each shape has a special meaning. The spirals represent the path, the diamonds represent the four seasons, the circle represents the union, and anyway, the geometrical figures are the feelings for Mother Earth.
The Jaibaná or doctor with supernatural powers, every day monitors the course of the river, supervises the harvest and examines the elderly and children. With his extraordinary abilities he can read the nature, understands it and communicate with beings from beyond that are silently involved in every day in the indigenous community. The knowledge of these ancestral doctors is manifesting from their childhood in dreams. The Jaibaná is the direct communication between their great Creator, Mother Earth and man.
Every night Eloi continues having contact with the leopard, in her dreams she sees and feels it. Every morning she tries to tell her dreams through color, through the figures that she gives to each necklace and bracelet. In each Okama (emblematic necklace) she creates her interpretation of the jaguar. She does not know that her supernatural powers are being expressed in every work of art passing through her hands.