Art of the Wayuu People

The art of the Wayuu people is very varied and fascinating, they create unique and colorful pieces; They tend to be very creative with everything they do, and all of this is part of their ancestral heritage. The art of the Wayuu community is usually inspired by the vision they have of the world, they can capture figures of animals, dances, of the instruments and even of their daily life.

First we will talk about the fabric, which is something that has been passed down from generation to generation, the fabric is very important and significant, the designs are usually in bright colors. Generally, it is the women who are in charge of the fabrics such as hammocks, Wayuu Bags or Wayuu women’s Dress. They learn this craft from a very young age, women usually weave in their free time. Fabrics are an economic source within the Wayuu culture. Many claim that weaving began when Wale’kerü (spider) taught a woman how she should weave the weaves and create drawings for the various weaves and this woman taught others, and thus the entire ethnic group managed to learn the trade. Mothers and grandmothers are in charge of preparing girls in the art of weaving.

Wayuu bagsWayuu Bags

For this culture, people who have the ability to weave should be given a lot of respect, weaving is related to the family lineage and its prestige. In ancient times they used cotton for weaving as well as sheep wool, fique and vegetable fibers.

Wayuu Bags are usually very colorful and the more complex the design, the more valuable it is. To make a wayuu bags they use the crochet technique, it was usually one strand and was done in 20 days, but since there is a lot of demand for these products, they began to make them with two strands to finish the backpack faster.

Wayuu Hammock / Chinchorro

Now, to make a chinchorro, Wayuu women use a rudimentary loom; The chinchorro was the first woven object. Making a chinchorro can take several days depending on whether it is single or double-sided and the people who help make it.

The central body of the chinchorro, the ropes and the fringes are woven separately and later joined together. The chinchorros can be associated with the entire life of the Wayuu since in a chinchorro they are born, sleep, rest, procreate and die. For the Wayuu it is of utmost importance to always have many chinchorros stored to receive their visit.

Wayuu hatsHats

On the other hand we have hats, generally it is men who make the hats, these are made of isii or mawisa straw, but there are also women who make them; The fabric is diagonal and many of them have bright colors.

To make a Wayuu hat it can take a day or two days of work, but you also have to add the dyeing of the straw, which can take half a day. At first the Wayuu hat was used to carry out field work. The tools to make the hat are your hands, issi straw, thread, needle and scissors. In general, the Wayuu make the hats in their homes.

Ceramics Wayuu Ceramics

Ceramics also enter art; These crafts are not usually very recognized, but we can find them in different sizes, shapes and different decorations. They are usually used to preserve food, they also make some for cooking such as cauldrons; or the mortuary vessels that are generally used at the second wake and the dolls that are called Wayunkeera.

The art of the Wayuu people has many social and spiritual meanings. The crafts of the Wayuu people are highly recognized not only in Colombia but also in many parts of the world; They usually attract a lot of attention due to their unique and colorful designs. These are traditions that are passed from generation to generation, and although in the past other materials were used; The crafts have endured over time taking advantage of elements from their environment such as wands, reeds, wood, stones and clay; making the most of it thanks to their skills and qualities that are reflected in their artistic works.

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