Colombia, Aura Vidalina Robles, Bags
Aura Vidalina Robles is a master craftswoman whose tenacity and commitment to her Wayúu people have led her to become an important member of her community and an inspiration for the more than 500 women she has managed to train.
For Aura, born in the Guajira Peninsula in northernmost part of Colombia and northwest Venezuela, the environment represents the essence of her life: family, animals, and nature. Her designs come from the environment, especially in the spring season when the colour and beauty of the wildlife are her main source of inspiration; “It is the stars in the sky that announce the arrival of the rain. One of our kanaas (geometric figures) is the Iwouya, which means the trace of spring.”
The Wayúu ethnic group is semi nomadic; in the winter they go down to the upper Guajira where the dry and sandy lands are, and in the summer they go up to the mountainous areas where there is food for the animals and the water is more abundant.
As they are always in constant rotation, their fabrics also change, as each landscape is a source of inspiration. Thus, some of them, like the double-sided hammock, take up to four months to finish, a task that shows dedication and love for what they do.
With the support of Artesanías de Colombia and their training, the women were introduced to new designs and techniques while continuing to produce traditional ones. Each backpack, hammock, hammock, hat, blanket, si'ira (male girdle) and their varied and complex kanasü (art of weaving drawings) are the reason the families of La Guajira are recognised and admired.