Mama Shibulata always told me to plant sacred quartz crystals for water to sprout, that you have to plant water for more trees to sprout, that you have to plant trees so that more birds will sprout, and so on—to go forth planting love in the world, though not just love, but a love for nature, for mother earth, which is ultimately us.
“The tropics are a thought, green in a feeling,” so the Taitas and other spiritual leaders say when they are thinking while they weave or while they work the land. When I think about the green of the tropics, I think about the damp soil, the hot land, the waterfalls, the mountains, the jungles, the rivers, the cloud forests, the snow-capped mountains, the hummingbird, the jaguar, the sacred eagle—all that remains on this planet which allows us to breathe
After traveling for years throughout a territory now called Colombia or the Amazon or the Andean Mountain Range, constantly taking in the earthly landscapes, I always come to the same thought:
The heart of the jungle continues to beat and keep us alive.
So, why do we destroy, slowly and systematically, so much beauty? Why do we continue to live with such indifference and apathy, without understanding that this heart has nearly disappeared from the world? The heart of the world, that is what shamans call the Amazon River.
My work calls out to the heart of the world, to the heart of the jungle, to connect us with it, with that origin, and to understand that we are still nature. My work here is about documenting those sacred places and exalting them in textiles that I later take apart, thread by thread, slowly and nearly imperceptibly, the same way we have been destroying what little we have left, those last bits of an ancient natural world.
Mining, ranching, monoculture farming, coca crops, pollution, logging, mercury poisoning, gold fever—these are the greatest predators of the tropical jungles and cloud forests, and they are gradually destroying the ancient mutualist relationships among species that have existed for more than 20 million years. The landscape is no longer the same and we aren’t seeing that.
My work calls out to the heart of the jungle, like honey that calls to bees when there is a call to connect us with the spirit of nature, to return to the origin. This is a natural intelligence that, despite everything, will always tower above any artificial intelligence. It evokes a shared idea for all of us who still believe in paradise.
*(Kogi mamo, a spiritual leader for the Kogi indigenous people of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta)
By Ana González Rojas