Accepted paper:

Diasporic objects


Laura Osorio (Museum of Cultural History at the University of Oslo)

Paper short abstract:

My paper will focus on the effects of displacement in crafts of the Wounaan, an indigenous community in Colombia. In this paper, I will explore the way in which their bodies and minds are adapting to new languages, new ways of making crafts in an attempt to fit into a new/foreign urban environment.

Paper long abstract:

The story of the Wounaan is not a unique story in the world and certainly not in Colombia (a country with one of the highest rates of internally displaced people in the world) but it is nonetheless a story full of narrations of struggle and resistance. This paper will look closely at the Wounaan and their traditional basket production from very early material evidence (found in Museums and private collections) to the contemporary objects. I will use this evidence to explore the shifts and changes that are connected to their displacement. In this paper I will discuss the concepts of diaspora/displacement and material culture; understanding 'diasporic objects' as elements that unfold across territories, religions and cultures. The paper will explore the following questions: what happens when communities and their objects are displaced from their original territories? How do these diasporic objects affect the displaced communities? What happens when primary materials have to be transported thousands of miles to reach the skilled artisans in their 'new' territories?, how are the displaced objects re-signified and how do they mediate between a new territory and context and old traditions and contexts?

panel Mat03
Dwelling in craft