Wisdom rooted in Customs

Posted by C&A Foundation on Nov 30, 2017

In the state of Chiapas, in Mexico, deep into the mountains you will find the community of Chamula, known by its rooted customs.  Ancestral knowledge is passed on from generation to generation by the women in the community. 

Juana Patishtan is 63 years old. She is mother of eight, wife, grandmother of eighteen, and leader of her group of artisans. She opened her home, her traditions and her cooking to us when we visited her to talk about Red Niu Matat, a Mexican NGO supporting artisans.

“I am thankful for the opportunity that this community has given me to bring in my camera and capture their customs, their homes (that are the jungle itself) and moments like this where peace and wisdom come through that look and those hands,” says Erick, the photographer who captured Juana’s images.

The thread that Juana is spinning will be used to sew belts for an international client that has purchased over three thousand pieces at a fair price. After receiving training in accounting, production, cut and confection, as well as raw materials inventory from Red Niu Matat – which was supported by C&A Foundation’s Inspiring Women Campaign – Juana and her fellow generated new revenues to reinvest in their businesses and together, they produced the back pocket of a women’s denim shorts collection sold in C&A stores in Mexico during the International Women’s Day in 2017. This collection raised their incomes 152% that month and brought genuine art craft into mainstream fashion.

“I am thankful for the opportunity that this community has given me to bring in my camera and capture their customs, their homes and moments like this where peace and wisdom come through that look and those hands.”

Photographer Erick Astudillo

Photographer Erick Astudillo’s touching portraits of factory workers in Mexico are featuring on C&A Foundation’s new Instagram page. 

Over the past two years, Erick has visited workers and artisans across Mexico at their homes, schools and places of work to photograph an ‘Inspiring Women’ campaign that supports indigenous artisan women in Mexico in getting skills training so they can better sell their products.

In his work for C&A Foundation, he is capturing the essence of Mexican garment workers and the spirit of southern artisans in Chiapas. By providing a fresh insight through his images, Erick aims to help overcome greater social and environmental issues.

The images are part of a larger series which celebrates the people behind our clothes, and Erick’s portraits convey the integrity and authenticity of the women he films. Over the next two months, our Instagram will be featuring the work of five different photographers. Erick is the third in the series and his contributory portraits feature mother of eight, Juana.

For more, visit our Instagram page @candafoundation.