Who are the Wayuu?
Recognized as the 'people of the sun, sand, and wind,' the remarkable Wayuu tribes possess a cultural heritage steeped in incredibly rich legends and traditions. They diligently strive to preserve their ancient customs day by day.
Spread across the unforgiving desert terrains in the northern regions of Colombia and extending into Venezuela, the Wayuu tribe inhabits an impressive expanse of 10,800 square kilometers. According to their oral history, the ancestral Wayuu people received the knowledge of weaving from a legendary spider named Waleker. To this very day, this ancient art continues to hold a sacred place within Wayuu culture and serves as a defining aspect of their identity.
As the desert conditions have become increasingly challenging in recent years, the Wayuu community has gradually relied more on the income generated from their weaving craft. They live harmoniously in 'clans,' forming tightly-knit family communities, primarily dwelling in 'rancherías,' huts constructed from cactus or palm leaves with walls made of yotojoro (a mix of mud, hay, or dried cane). Their homes are modestly furnished, comprising hammocks for sleeping and a small fire pit for cooking.
Every day, the women gather, dressed in traditional loose garments known as 'mantas,' and skillfully weave the tales of their ancestors into exquisite masterpieces of art.