Luz Tisoy y Néstor Jacanamijoy

Workshop: Inga Awaska
Craft: Tejeduría
Trail: Putumayo Route
Location: Santiago, Putumayo


  Calle 7 # 2-92 ,Barrio Perpetuo Socorro Diagonal a los Bomberos

Everything in the Inga world is connected. The womb, for instance, is honored and pleaded to for protection through the weaving of specific belts and symbols. Moreover, it is taken care of with plants and aromatic herbs grown in chagras, the family gardens that provide people with food. This context is also home to images that represent the entire world growing inside a human body. These images both originate from and are consulted through the intake of yagé. Luz and Néstor grew up surrounded with these stories: they are their treasure.

They know their mission in life is to depict their magical universe: to enchant their crafts with the decorations they make. The frogs they weave are heralds of prosperous. This is so because, when they croak, rain falls and makes crops grow. Their woven owls are symbols of knowledge and the things we have to learn. Likewise, the presence of zaparros —baskets— in their drawings can have many meanings, all of which are things that are associated with said wares: they are used to carry both the firewood that lights the tulpa and the corn that will later be eaten, they are blessings for the homes that ask for work, they are what allows the families to earn their livelihoods.

The Inga know that, because of their indigenous heritage, their mission on Earth is to protect the natural environments that surround them. They say that the word “Inga” means “to be a guardian.” Yet, their way of caring does not involve aggressive defense mechanisms or threatening people who do harm. Rather, they focus on the search for the common good: for harmony, forgiveness, and reconciliation. This is the reason behind their guiding principle: “Think beautifully before acting.” Their land is their everything. It provides them with whatever they need, shelters them, and offers them a place where they can build their history.

They have become experts at veneering with chaquira beads. The origins of this craft come from one of their elders’ traditions, according to which they decorated pieces of wood with several types of seeds. Nowadays, they craft their images and tell us everything they know through their colored beads —their chaquiras. No part of these wares lacks meaning, and their makers are open to the questions of the uninitiated.

Luz also enjoys crafting earrings and translating her worlds into miniatures. Néstor, artist and brother of the renowned painter Carlos Jacanamijoy, combines painting and weaving. He gets excited whenever he recounts how he has portrayed the Inga Carnival, always exploring the exuberance of nature. He is a weaver of chumbes and heir to the wisdom of his grandmother. Nowadays, he innovates through his work making bags that reflect his family’s wisdom. His mother’s house became a large workshop filled with light. It has a beautiful view of the immense chagra that is just outside in which more than 170 medicinal herbs are grown. It has turned into a place of inspiration that seeks to invite other craftspeople to share and work together. It prompts people to “think beautifully”.

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