strong mama art from the Caribe

I love where I live! From the nesting turtles to the crazy and random barefoot dancing parties in town comprised of a wide variety of age and colors. I especially love the fact that the women here are STRONG. Creative, alive, and so, so beautiful!

I ran across this artist the other day, Eugenia Barrionuevo ( her Facebook page is here) – a Costa Rican native woman who lives near me in the town of Cahuita, on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica.

Her elegant folk art portrays the people who make up a large part of this area. They originally came from Jamaica drawn by the abundant turtle population, but then evolved into settling the area and growing coconuts and chocolate and having families. In time, others would settle in this area too, but the ones from Jamaica came here first. We do know that the indigenous tribes, who were truly the first, moved up further into the mountains around the same time the Jamaican settlers came.

The culture here is gentle, calm and peaceful – with a strong feminine presence and influence throughout all aspects of life. Family (really, the whole community is related in one way or another), is deeply honored and members stay close to one another.

Until recently (the 80’s), the women all birthed at home, with the assistance of other women in their family. Sometimes there was a midwife – but from what I was told “the older women cared for the ones when they were having their babies…all the women in the family would help each other”.

I was also told that birth was not a man’s business and that they stayed clear of the birthing space. “They stayed close, but not right in the same room…the babies were all born at home – and when the people died, they died at home too – the family, they laid out the body inside the house, putting herbs on it, for 2-3 days before putting it in the ground. Family and friends would come to the house during those days, bringing food and sitting with the grieving family members.”

In honor of the beautiful way of life here, I present the following…(for a larger view, click on the image, and scroll through)

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