Gallery - living-language-land



2022   12x12" shadow box

Maloka: Ancestral longhouse

  • Language: Murui (Uitoto)
  • Region: Amazon region, Colombia

 The ancestral and spiritual longhouse of the Murui-Muina, the Maloka, houses multiple families who cook and hang their hammocks in separate spaces. It is where the men chew coca and tobacco and where the women prepare sweet yuca, and where the elders gather to discuss and manage the affairs of the community. It is also where the dance of the Yadico (the Dance of Unity) takes place. In this process, which takes 15 days to prepare and lasts through the night, the Murui endeavour to heal the tensions and disagreements that arise within and between their communities. Resentment and discord are dissipated and the community re-weaves its harmony.

At the same time, the whole community gathers to strengthen and heal its intimate relationship with the natural world, and transmits the ancient wisdom and practices to their children and young people.

I have placed the Maloka at the top of a woven cloth interspersed with green forest leaves, to show that the forest is an intimate part of the life of the Murui. A harmonious connection with nature is as important as closeness within the community, and the Maloka is the centre of this connection.

For the full description, along with pronunciation, map and short video, click HERE.