As the official photographer of Indigenius, Robin Hooybergs embarks on a global journey to document and honor the ancestral tradition, practices and intergenerational know-how of the artisanal communities. Beyond merely capturing their craftsmanship, her lens is dedicated to serve as the visual ambassador for Indigenius. A platform dedicated to bridging ancestral craftsmanship and technology. This, through promoting, platforming and shining light on the forgotten technique & treasures of the world through different immersive experiences.
Indigenius official launch in the desert of Wadi Rum, Jordan
The journey started in Jordan, where Saraah Bikaï, founder of Indigenius, and Lebanese artist Noor Taan created an immersive installation. On the Bedouin grounds of The Valley of the Moon Desert in Wadi Rum, this creation, comprising video projections on the Umm Ishrin Sandstone, marked the official launch of Indigenius. Robin captured for the first time the manifestation of tradition and innovation, laying the foundation of Indigenius' mission.
Green Pottery of Tamegroute
Robin’s journey continued with visiting master artisan Abd Al-Haq in Tamegroute, Morocco. Robin witnessed the eighth generation preservation of the legacy of green pottery. Indigenius introduces Abd Al-Haq’s workshops, allowing participants to immerse themselves in ancient techniques and secrets that gave rise to the renowned green pottery.
The Anou Cooperative
The journey extended to artisans within The Anou Cooperative, a renowned
collective comprising over 600 Moroccan artisans. Owned and managed by the artisan community, it champions transparency and quality. Artisans within Anou receive fair compensation, with a notable 20% reinvested into community initiatives like training and employment. This collective approach aims to revolutionise the future of craft, empowering artisans and fostering sustainable growth. Remarkably, The Anou Cooperative empowers selected artisans to actively manage operations, equipping them with skills typically held by intermediaries. This strategy promotes empowerment and cultural preservation.
Ancient Egyptian Civilization
Exploring Ancient Egypt, Robin’ delved into the recreation of ancient artefacts, engaging skilled artisans in a discourse on artefact repatriation. Indigenius ensures a meaningful continuation of cultural heritage through collaboration with Royal Aromatics and Mamluk Jewellery, nurturing a harmonious balance between preservation and community involvement. These practices hold immense significance as they underscore the pivotal role of our ancient civilisations, influencing our past, present, and future. By passing down these techniques across generations, artisans safeguard age-old wisdom, ensuring its preservation. Additionally, they address a crucial issue by providing alternative avenues to the repatriation of stolen artefacts, a joint effort involving museums, governments, embassies with the help of consultancies such as Nostos Strategies.
Subsequently, Robin immersed herself on a visual journey in the vibrant city of Jodhpur, India, encountering the inspiring Saheli Women. Driven by the ethos of women's empowerment through economic independence, Saheli Women uplifts artisans, catalysing positive transformations. Their commitment to ethical fashion practices embodies the transformative potential of empowering women for a sustainable future.
Chaturanga Sri Lankan Brasswear
In Sri Lanka, Robin’s lens is delved into the country's brassware tradition— an ancient craft passed down through generations, reflecting the artistic heritage of the Sri Lankan people. The tradition of brassware in Sri Lanka dates back centuries, with a rich history deeply rooted in the island's culture and craftsmanship. Brassware has played a significant role in various aspects of Sri Lankan life, from everyday use and decorative purposes to religious ceremonies. Chaturanga Brasswear's artisans and craftsmen strive to blend traditional techniques with modern designs, ensuring the preservation and evolution of this ancient craft.
Life of Loofah
In Beirut, Lebanon, Robin explored Noor Taan's innovative Life of Loofah project, a fusion of art, design, and sustainability. Noor, a Lebanese/German artist, specialises in installation art, graphic design, and product design with a strong commitment to sustainable living. The ongoing project creatively repurposes the loofah plant, offering eco-friendly solutions in product design, installations, lighting, and wearables. Notably, it provides valuable employment opportunities for the Palestinian Women Refugee organisation, emphasising sustainability, community empowerment, and the preservation of natural landscapes. Robin captures the essence of this inspiring journey, where creativity meets social impact.
Turning the lens to Pre-Columbian jewellery crafted by indigenous peoples of the Americas, Robin captured the collaboration of Indigenius with Cano and Museo del Oro in Colombia and Mercado Guanacaste in Costa Rica, witnessing the revival of culturally significant ornaments. This preservation of ancient heritage bridges the past and present, ensuring these traditions endure.
Mujeres que Tejen en Pedal
Robin's conclusion to 2023 was marked by delving into the world of Mujeres Que Tejen en Pedal founded by Doña Josefina Jiménez. Mujeres que Tejen is a weaving organization committed to safeguarding their culture, traditions, and aspirations. They bring 47 years of expertise to their craft, producing high-quality woven goods while maintaining a deep connection to their origins.
Doña Josefina, of Zapotec heritage, is acclaimed as the founder of "Mujeres que Tejen." Her journey weaves threads of empowerment, devoted to liberating women in her village through the ancient, pre-Hispanic Zapotec ancestral craft of natural dyes and rug weaving. Establishing a sanctuary, Doña Josefina provides a space where women can break free from the constraints of heteronormative standards. Embracing the richness of Zapotec tradition, she proudly represents the fourth generation in her family, inheriting the sacred art from her mother.
Through Robin's lens, in each snapshot Indigenius narrates tales of resilience, heritage, and the allure of traditional craftsmanship. The platform, emphasises the significance of fair trade and endeavours to empower artisanal communities to showcase their cultural crafts to the world. As the journey continues, so does the celebration of artisans who intricately weave the fabric of our shared human heritage.
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