Catalina Sánchez GaviriaCOLOMBIA | 2019
SECTION OF DRESS: Toucan and Tropical flowers
A modern and funky Colombian embroiderer, Catalina a mother of 2 now lives in Lyon where she created a bold embroidery for the Red Dress highlighting the beauty of her native land but also her desire for its improved future.
My name is Catalina Sanchez. I was born in a small town called Popayán, in the south-west of Colombia. An ecologist by profession, I first left my country to continue my studies 12 years ago and have lived in several countries since then, which have formed me into the person I am today. Being far away from my family, friends, country, and away of my comfort zone has changed me forever. I am more compassionate now, I don’t take things for granted, my mind is more open and I am more tolerant. All of this was also shaped thanks to my kids. I became a mom 7 years ago and they made me realize that what I thought was important in that moment, didn't have any actual relevance. They showed me and taught me what was the real meaning of things. With them, I became a stay at home mom and have dedicated all these years to them. It was during this period that I tried embroidery for the first time. I was trying to find a way to keep me "busier" and decided to give it a chance to embroider. I grew up watching my mom embroidering and knitting but was never interested in either of them until a few years ago. I think watching my mom doing it through my childhood left me with something imprinted in my mind, because it was very easy for me to start with this craft.
When Kirstie gave me the opportunity to be part of this AMAZING project, and asked me to make a piece that I would identify myself and my country with, I immediately thought about two things: flowers and birds, maybe it was the Ecologist side of me???. Colombia is the country with the highest number of bird species in the world and the second one when it comes to plants. This put us in a special spot, making Colombia one of the most biodiverse countries overall.
My embroidery portraits a very tropical, colorful and joyful design, things that you can immediately have a sense of when you visit our country.
When I finished the design to be embroidered, something happened in my country. Once again, we were shook by a violent event. This time a car bomb exploded in the General Santander police academy in Bogotá, with 21 fatalities and dozens injured. Colombia has, and has had, a sad history of violence and inequality, but this particular event was in a magnitude that we had not seen in many years. It brought back memories of similar acts decades ago. The difference is that now, having lived what I have lived and seeing life through the eyes of my kids and the future that awaits for them, this violent act affected me differently and deeply. It made me think about what we have, what we are, what we yearn, and we need as a country. I summarized all these thoughts and feelings in the word HOPE. We need to keep the hope for change, for a future, for a better society made out of stronger values and respect for others and for the ecosystem. In that moment, I realized my design was finally done. I had managed to encapsulate characteristics of the beauty that Colombia represents, but also the complexity of its society and the aspiration for an improved future.
To contact Catalina for commissions, please write to: email@example.com