We asked if we could have a photo taken, and she immediately picked Amanda up for a photo-op. We had been there once before to admire and buy some molas. I do not know why we ended up at her table, but it probably was Amelita's obvious pride in her work and her meticulous and beautiful workmanship. So now it was the second time we were there, and the second time I purchased from her stall. The lady in the stall next to hers apparently (we don't speak much Kuna) chaffed her a little enviously, and turning to me, pointed to herself and said: Mañana! Well, it was one of our last days on the Caribbean coast, and our last visit to Portobelo. But I wish to go back.
This is Amelita. She has made all the molas I bought in Portobelo, Panama in Jaunary last year(2007). She sold her wonderful work at a small marketplace there - along with other Kuna artisans.
Among the Kuna, the women are the ones wearing traditional clothing, at least outside the comarca. If you care to look a little closer, you will notice the broad centerpiece of Amelita's blouse. I have later read that the women cut off the center part of blouses to replace them with their molas. The first day we were there, Amelita wore another 'centerpiece', that was made in two layers, one black, and one pink. I will have to refer to the pattern as a sort of maze or labyrinth. It was just striking. I will never forget it, and my dream is to learn how to reproduce it - one day from that memory.
Later, when we spent some days in Panama City, we actually saw more from the Kuna people than on the Caribbeean coast, which is closer to their 'homeland'. Their craft is also their livelihood, and tourists provide them with a market, and since Panama City is where most tourists are in transit, the Kuna go there to make their living. So on the street corners and benches of the old town in PC they sat and sold their goods that were on display next to them while sewing on their next project.
Here are more of the molas I brought back home, from a warm and colourful equatorial land to a cold and grey January in Scandinavia. As you probably can reckon, the Norwegian December light does not make the colours come alive as strongly as the Panamanian sun would. Hence the rather bleak rendition of the said colours.
Thank you Jan, for encouraging me to show these molas! They bring back memories of a true artist - Amelita.