Storytellers Update 6

Lola shares her personal story of life and learnings.
Melanie Dizon
December 5, 2022


Over the last couple years, we have spent many days with Lola and her family, learning about their way of life and the traditions they still practice such as weaving, hunting, and the memory of certain songs taught to them by their ancestors. We share this video and further information about her art.

Lola sings the song of the parakeet (or mémeri in Matsigenka) as she recalls memories of her grandmother and mother through whom she learned the tradition of weaving. She arrived to the community of Shipetiari many years ago where she took the decision to stay and raise her family. She is the wife of Luciano and together they have three daughters (Martha, Marylee, Lucia) and one son named Javier.

Photo: Davis Torres/Xapiri Ground


The tradition of 'jempo' weaving is passed down maternally. Lola learned the process of jempo-making from her grandmother and mother. The 'jempo' is a small to medium sized bag that they use daily to carry anything from personal belonging to yucca. It is put together by a series of meticulous knots and patterns, signature to each artisan.
The 'jempo' utilizes the fiber of the cetico tree (sp. Cecropia); which is a neotropoical pioneer evergreen species, readily available in their forests and is prized for its stem which is comprised of very long and resistant textile fibers.

Photo: Tui Anandi/Xapiri Ground

Photo: Mike van Kruchten/Xapiri Ground

Photo: Tui Anandi/Xapiri Ground

Lola is also skilled in weaving palm leaves into these traditional floor mats that are common to each household. They are commonly used for the women to sit on when they are making art or for friends and family to seat themselves.

Photo: Davis Torres/Xapiri Ground

Photo: Davis Torres/Xapiri Ground

Lola is a quiet-natured woman but in her art she speaks her stories. She is one of a few women in the community that carries the cotton weaving tradition forward, pictured below wearing one of her own cushmas or 'kitsagarintsi'. Each member of the family traditionally possesses their own cushma to wear for special occasions, celebrations, or ceremonies; and most notably when a young woman enters her puberty, she undergoes a ritual where she is to spin cotton to weave her own kushma.

Photo: Mike van Kruchten/Xapiri Ground
Photo: Mike van Kruchten/Xapiri Ground

Photo: Mike van Kruchten/Xapiri Ground


These original recordings and photography are an ongoing part of our many visits to the community. We hope that you continue to follow our progress with this long-standing project of art and storytelling, focused on connecting the youth with the oral traditions of their elders and living culture through creative workshops and relationship building.
This project is made possible through our partnership with SePerú; a non-profit organization dedicated to equal benefits and co-management of Peruvian Indigenous communities and their natural ecosystem.
Support this project so that we may continue to share and learn about the ancestral knowledge of the Matsigenka people.

Video Footage: Davis Torres, Mike van Kruchten, Melanie Dizon
Video edition: Melanie Dizon
Photography: Davis Torres, Mike van Kruchten, Tui Anandi

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