Reviving an Ancient Art

17 September 2010, 4:48 PM

Mujeres Artesanas CC  | Latin America and the Caribbean Region

Mola, the traditional art and clothing design of the Kuna indigenous people of Panama and Colombia, originated as body painting. Today, appliquéd Mola textiles can be found in craft markets across Latin America, ranging from cheap mass productions to intricate original handicraft. However, the commercialization of Mola art has brought little economic benefit to the Kuna themselves, and the traditional drawings it is based on are being increasingly modified to meet modern consumer demand. Mujeres Artesanas Kuna de Panama CC is helping Kuna women rediscover this ancient art and reclaim it as a resource to support their families and their communities. The project not only provides a critical source of income for indigenous women who are struggling to make ends meet, but also ensures the survival of a tradition that is central to the Kuna identity.