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About the Wayuu

The Wayuu people are an indigenous Latin American community populating the visually eye-catching desert of the Colombian La Guajira Peninsula which borders with Venezuela.  The Wayuu community lives in small settlements called "rancherias" which consist of five or six houses each.  Within these rancherias, the Wayuu people are able to preserve a way of life that has been passed down through the generations and remains unscathed by modern culture. Organized in matrilineal clans, the Wayuu children carry their mother's last name, making the Wayuu women not only the center of the family but cultural leaders of the community as well.  One of the most significant aspects of the culture that the Wayuu women practice is the art of weaving Mochilas Wayuu bags.

  

 

 

 

 

Each Wayuu mother teaches her daughter how to weave and crochet, keeping the tradition as alive and vibrant as ever.  To the Wayuu, weaving is a symbol of wisdom, intelligence, and creativity.  As young Wayuu women come of age, they learn to create Mochilas Wayuu bags.  According to the legend, the tradition comes from "Wale´kerü", a spider that taught the women how to weave their creative drawings into the Wayuu bags.  Each design incorporated into every Wayuu bag is unique to the weaver, telling a story through the bag's colors, patterns and shapes. This ancestral patterns are called "Kanaso'u" and are the maximal expression of the way Wayuu people understand the habitat they live.

 

 

 

 

The weaver takes careful precision in her storytelling, making sure that the Mochila bag is a strong representation of Wayuu culture.  Wayuu women work full days while weaving their Wayuu bags and can take up to a full month to complete one single bag.  Today, Wayuu bags has become a means of financial support for the Wayuu people, which enables them to preserve their way of life.

 

 

 

 

La Primera in Riohacha, Colombia is the iconic market of the Wayuu bags.