May 24, 2019

Cerrejón Foundation participates in Expoartesano 2019

The Cerrejón Foundation (with the support of Artesanías de Colombia) sponsored ten Wayuu and Wiwa indigenous communities partnered in our Artisan Strengthening program to participate in the Expoartesano fair in Medellín. It is the second-largest fair in the country.

Janneth Daza, the Foundation’s director, states that this fair celebrates the country’s traditional skills. “Expoartesano continues to be an opportunity to promote and market Wayuu and Wiwa artisan products from our department. The Foundation is supporting artisans to participate in this event for the third consecutive year.”

On this occasion, the participants included artisan groups from six municipalities in La Guajira (Uribia, Maicao, Hatonuevo, Albania, Barrancas, and San Juan del Cesar) that have been part of the Artisan Strengthening program since 2016. They showcased a variety of products illustrating their traditional weaving: Wayuu weaving in acrylic thread, such as handwoven bags, purses, and accessories; Wiwa weaving in sisal such as handwoven bags; and the new line of blankets and embroidery by the Julimakal and ASOAWPRO groups from the Provincial and Cerro de Hatonuevo indigenous reservations.

The results were significantly higher than in 2018 (an 88% increase in sales) due to tremendous progress in the production and design of the marketing strategy of the group representing the artisan communities sending products to this fair.

Tania González, an artisan from the community of Riritana, said, “This has been a process of training and learning together with the Foundation, which has allowed us to perfect our weaving and manufacturing techniques. The experience we are having here will be duplicated with our fellow artisans in order to consolidate our skills and to continue working for our community.”

For participating artisans, this occasion provides an opportunity for meeting potential clients, ideas on new market alternatives, and socialization on the meaning and cultural rescue of Wayuu and Wiwa cloth-making. Outcomes include advancing the program with Colombians and visitors, which is a fundamental promotional strategy, thereby creating recall in the public attending this important fair.

Through our Foundation, Cerrejón contributes to training human resources and consolidating partnerships to broaden commercial exposure for the artisans. At the same time, we become a partner for our neighbouring communities and a protagonist in regional development.