Empower Shipibo women through creative economy

by Alianza Arkana
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Empower Shipibo women through creative economy
Empower Shipibo women through creative economy
Empower Shipibo women through creative economy
Empower Shipibo women through creative economy
Empower Shipibo women through creative economy
Empower Shipibo women through creative economy
Empower Shipibo women through creative economy
Empower Shipibo women through creative economy
Empower Shipibo women through creative economy
Empower Shipibo women through creative economy
Empower Shipibo women through creative economy
Empower Shipibo women through creative economy
Empower Shipibo women through creative economy
Empower Shipibo women through creative economy
Empower Shipibo women through creative economy
Empower Shipibo women through creative economy
Empower Shipibo women through creative economy
Tags from reused paper, achiote, leaves and cotton
Tags from reused paper, achiote, leaves and cotton

      Pandemic hit us hard in Peru. It's been a real challenge and we had to learn how to survive while the world was literally ending. Our cultural knowledge revealed to be our most valuable ally: our plants, our traditional medicine, our ancestors, our environment, our art and our way of living reassured us and showed the rest of the world how important indigenous peoples are. 

   All eyes are now looking to the Amazon rainforest since saving this environment can be the only hope for saving the rest of the planet. But we cannot save the Earth without protecting the culture of people who know how to live respecting nature, people who are one with nature: those are the indigenous.

  In this new approach of Kené Neté, after the pandemic, we set down and spoke (a lot), we reflected, we swam in the river, we drank matecitos (herbal infusion), we walked all over town, we collected herbs, we chewed coca leaves, we went through our old creations, we allowed ourselves to sleep and dream and we asked what do we, as indigenous peoples in general need, what do Shipibo people need and what does the world need. 

   We came up with the answer that what we are all eager for is healing. People from different parts of the globe come to Pucallpa looking for healing and Shipibo people provide that through traditional medicine, a process that is bonded to art ­— in amerindian societies health and art are pieces of a same indissociable net — and we are also looking to heal ourselves, from all our losses to Covid-19, from all the poverty it left behind, from all the pain it caused. 

   We have a lot to share. Colors, plants, wisdom, dreams, art. But we hope we can make a decent living out of it, and by that, we can heal people from all over the world. Because what Shipibo people do is healing art: it is a magical process that touches hearts and spreads hope. 

   Our new products are coming, aligned with this healing speech. Everything in Kené Néte is as greener as possible, as sustainable as possible, as natural as possible. And if we are looking to heal, we need to have the means to sustain ourselves too.

   So in this first moment of our new phase we need your help to provide our 3 indigenous women staff a fair payment: one Quechua, who is already a professional and two Shipibo, who are in university right now. Our goal is to progressively enhance staff payment, make Kené Néte grow and later generate more jobs, which are so much needed in Peru. 

   The production will happen anyway (we have a small funding for materials, manufacturing, workshops, etc) but we need human resources to make the initiative long-term sustainable. 

   Description of the pictures attached:

  • Tags we made from reused paper, achiote (Bixa orellana) natural paint, leaves from our garden and raw cotton.
  • Achiote paint and our logo stamp
  • Lucía (Quechua) and Eva (Shipibo) working on the tags
  • Lucía (Quechua) and Eva (Shipibo) working on planning, goals, strategies.
achiote paint and logo stamp
achiote paint and logo stamp
Lucia Quechua and Eva Shipibo working on the tags
Lucia Quechua and Eva Shipibo working on the tags
Lucia Quechua and Eva Shipibo working on planning
Lucia Quechua and Eva Shipibo working on planning
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Over the last months of 2021, we were able to achieve some important goals towards the reactivation of our collective.

We collaborated with other local brands in putting together a fashion show during the Asalto Cultural festival, on its first edition since the beginning of the pandemic. With the aim of promoting the consumption of local products and produce, each outfit was conceptualized on the basis of a distinctively Amazonian fruit or vegetable: it’s specific taste, color, smell or texture. Co-organizing this event was a very important source of experience for us.

We also took part in an independent Christmas fair in Lima, where we managed to showcase and sell some of the new accessories and clothing pieces we worked on over the last months of the year. This was an amazing opportunity to make our products known amongst young, fashionable people who also take an interest in knowing how and where what they wear is made.

After a well deserved rest, we are starting 2022, hopefully the year the pandemic is over, with much energy and thrilled to start working towards bigger goals. For that, the first step is to renew and give maintenance to our equipment, which has been worn and torn, especially over the intense last months of work.

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Today, though still facing the difficulties brought by the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic, and approaching what seems to be a third wave for Peru, we are starting to work on the plan we elaborated as our guide to reactivate and keep working up until the end of 2021. Though there are some supplies and materials that are impossible to acquire in Ucayali, we are innovating and working with what we have and can get.

As Kene Nete, a collective of Shipibo-konibo artisans, our main goal as Kene Nete is to have a finished mini collection by the 13th of October, anniversary of the capital of Ucayali, Pucallpa. We plan to be able to show around 10 different outfits, comprised of embroidered, hand painted and screen printed garments, as well as a diverse accessories, all featuring traditional and current interpretations of our ancestral designs: kené. Given the conditions, we hope to showcase this collection in a fashion show as part of the celebrations of the city’s anniversary.

We currently are building local connections with independent fairs, as well online resources to be able to sell this collection not only in Pucallpa, but also in different cities in Peru and the world. As soon as we have enough funding, we also plan to engage in formative workshops to better our sewing, dyeing, screen printing and embroidering abilities. This will allow us not only to continue working despite the setbacks we have been facing, but also to better our work, so that we can continue to grow and thus benefit more and more Shipibo youths and their families though the promotion of sustainable fashion and our culture.

Recently, we were invited by the Municipality of Coronel Portillo to participate in the International Folk Art Market in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where our work will be showcased among the production of other indigenous artisans and artists of the province. We have already turned in our best pieces to the office in charge, and are eagerly waiting for upcoming news and results of our presence there.

Hopefully we will soon be able to show all of our supporters the results of our hard work.

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Selling products
Selling products

 

Faced with the difficult situation of the COVID 19 pandemic, our Kene Nete collective paralyzed their activities during the 2020 and the first months of the year 2021. We were mainly affected by the restrictions imposed by the government and also because many of the members of our collective and their families suffered from Covid.

With trade restricted for long periods, it was difficult for us to acquire supplies such as textiles, yarns, buttons, etc. In addition, the paralysis of tourist activity left us without a market where we could offer our products. For this reason, we were forced to stop the production and elaboration of garments. For us, young Shipibo-Konibo artists, it is a challenge to position ourselves in the fashion industry with identity.

However, we are adopting to the new normality and little by little, new opportunities are opening up to us. We received an invitation from the Shipibo Digital TV program "Non Kaya" to do a live fashion show of our collection and use the social media broadcast to launch the pre-sale of the garments we made before the pandemic. Many Shipibo Konibo models wore our clothes and we had a great acceptance from the public who tuned in.

Because we didn't sell all our garments, we did a photo shoot and through our social networks we continued with the sales. In addition, we participated in the clothing sales fair "Inoa Xatan Fashion", offering our products along with other fashion initiatives in our region.

This new year we have all the energy to continue showing you our work and our bet, to make sustainable fashion with that identity that we inherited from our Shipibo Konibo culture!

 

Jatibi jakon!

Fashion Show
Fashion Show
models
models
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INTERVIEWING THE ARTISANS
INTERVIEWING THE ARTISANS

We are very proud to share the final results with the public, creating new ways to continue to thrive together and start the new year with such great and inspiring projects.

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the whole world and the Amazon region has been hit particularly hard. With international borders closed and a drastic economic decrease in the tourism sector, all indigenous artisans, who are the main breadwinners of their families, are now under serious economical strain.

Closing probably the most difficult year in human history was challenging. Fortunately we had the opportunity to be part of the Alianza Arkana's initiative to generate sustainable solutions by creating Kené Sikati Kirika: a digital Kené Coloring Book to sell and support a group of a group of 30 artisan mothers, generating incomes for them in these difficult times, and at the same time, support us and empower the members of our collective throughout the process.

Kené refers to the ancestral Shipibo-Konibo geometric designs, which are usually illustrated on tapestries or ceramic pieces.

This very special e-book also aims to connect the general public with the unique legacy of Shipibo-Konibo designs by providing the opportunity not only to learn about the kené itself, but also to interact directly with each drawing through printable graphics to color.

We have been working on this digital Kené Coloring Book since September 2020 and we have asumed production roles  working on the set design; convocating all the 30 artisans; working on the translation of all the interviews from Shipibo to Spanish; supporting the book's graphic design; and we have gained first-hand experience in budget management.

To create this project we had the support of Amazon Watch and their contribution has allowed for the participation of all Shipibo-Konibo collaborators and will continue to support indigenous families through the sale of this book.

We are very proud to share the end results with the public, creating new ways to continue to prosper together and start the new year with such great and inspiring projects.

 

VIDEO BEHIND THE SCENES:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qyJv6udVjLE&feature=youtu.be

DRESSING AN ARTISAN
DRESSING AN ARTISAN
PREPARING AN ARTISAN FOR THE PHOTO SHOOT
PREPARING AN ARTISAN FOR THE PHOTO SHOOT
TAKING PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPH
TAKING PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPH

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Organization Information

Alianza Arkana

Location: Yarinacocha, Ucayali - Peru
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Development Team
Yarinacocha, Ucayali Peru
$1,427 raised of $18,000 goal
 
51 donations
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