Julia just returned from her trip to Colombia, where she and Deb of Nomad in Cambridge led one of their famed Art and Soul tours along the coast of the country. Their first stop was the colonial city of Cartagena, a port located in the north of the Caribbean Coast Region. There, they explored the charming streets and history-rich museums, including the Zenú Gold Museum, where they saw beautiful artifacts of pre-Colombian times including these ceramic burial urns pictured below. The Zenú were a culture that existed in this region from circa 200 BCE to roughly 1600 CE. They were well-known for the many gold ornaments that they produced, as well as for the construction of water works systems. The gold, often buried with their dead, lured the Spanish conquerors, who in turn looted much of it.
While in Cartagena, the group dined on fresh, delicious local fare such as Colombian ceviche and avocado salad, and were treated to enlivened performances of traditional dance.
They also visited the artistic neighborhood of Getsemani, an old neighborhood on the outskirts of Cartagena, where recently, during the country’s first International Festival of Urban Art, over 40 graffiti artists erected 35 murals in the space of one week.
One of the highlights of touring with Julia and Deb are the visits to craft villages and artisans. This year’s trip included a visit to the Wayuu, who live in the desert of the Guajira Peninsula, and produce the beautiful, intricately crocheted and woven mochila bags, each of which is unique. Organized into matrilineal clans, Wayuu mothers teach their daughters how to weave and crochet these beautiful bags as a means of financial support which help them to preserve their culture and way of life. To the Wayuu, weaving and crocheting are skills with expressive power that indicate wisdom, intelligence, and creativity. Each design is unique to its weaver, and tells a story through bold colors, patterns, and shapes.
From the mainland, the group visited the island of San Pedro de Majagua, a small, ecologically sustainable island. They also visited a few of the larger islands in the area including St Marta and Santa Rosita.
The group had a marvelous time on the whole, and Julia brought back many beautiful crafts and folk art items from the trip, including a selection of the exquisitely made mochila bags. Be sure to stop in and take a look!