Els Mommers – Country – Artist
Since I consider all Kuna women to be artists, I choose to incorporate their work in my Artist piece.
The people that surround the hammock are taken from a very old, faded, antique mola, that must be at least 80 years old and already for more than 25 years in my possession.
The story that I want to tell in this piece is about the congress hall. Every island has a chief “cacique” and one or two deputy chiefs “sahilas”. All the villagers meet every night in the very large “congresso” hut, situated in the middle of the island. This meeting is very important in daily Kuna life. They discuss all daily happenings and general politics.
The chiefs lay down in their hammocks in the middle of the hut, wearing their tribal hats, smoke pipes or cigarettes and chant in a special language , no one else understands. The “argars” or speakers are sitting next to the hammocks and interpret the sahila’s words for everyone.
The sahila sings all night, then the argar says:
“Tekie, that’s the way it was”
(Demetrio Lopez of the island Nalunega, where I used to stay).
I have been so fortunate to have seen this happen a lot of times.
In this piece the old faded people are the argars. They are sewn onto a background and thereafter into the black fabric with a reverse applique (mola)-technique. The sahila is appliqued and embroidered in the chain stitch that is mostly used by the kunas. The words are embroidered in chainstitch as well.
The background is free motion quilted in a stippling motif.