Arte y Esperanza


The Wichí Women

The Wichí Women


The Wichí Community is located in the Chaqueño’s central region and its language belongs to the Mataco-Mataguayo's linguistic family. Regarding the making progress of the handicrafts, one of their iconic production is the chaguar fabric make it with vegetable fiber, a women's work.

Get the chaguar's fiber and produce handicrafts with it requires a long process. The wichi's women goes to the mount looking for the plant, which they describe as capricious because of the difficulties of getting it by crop so as the lack it. The chaguar grows in different parts of the area, so they can not have control over it. Another problem is that the mount is despairing, reason why the wichi’s women started to use wood to make the crafts.
The chaguar is a plant coming from the family of Aloe Vera. It is thin and spiny, so it is difficult to work with. The recollection process is not simple either, they have to tear it off from the ground but with some land in the roots, then cut the spinies and translate on their backs.
The process of design is ancestral, they pass it on to each other, generation through generation. The most basic way of a wichi handcraft is a bird tissue at the base, while the rest is braided. Also, they have products that requires more elaboration, like de belts and the yicas - which means carry in their language-. In the present, a lot of designers are including chaguar in their designs, specially in Santiago del Estero where they have a mixture with wichi culture.
If we think chaguar is increasingly used in differents ways, it is not a surprise that it will scarce in the future. This is why we have to take care of our mounts, not only for the flora and fauna, but also for what it means for the different communities that live there, extracting the material they use to work.