‘Dolls’ highlighting Colombia’s ethnic and cultural diversity
Mayorli Montaño Mina, known as Mina after her mother’s last name, who has African heritage, is a fashion designer, singer and cultural manager who has used Afro cosmogony and aesthetics to generate dialogue on development and peace. Have found a way to promote diversity.
through its cultural project we celebrate Afro-Colombian Day And this World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and DevelopmentWhich is celebrated every 21 May.
We are talking about Minava, a venture that emerged in the mid-2020s, when Meyerly decided not to dedicate himself to fashion design, as it affected environmental sustainability, which was against his principles. Then, he began to focus on a product that would have a greater social impact and thus came up with the idea of creating Minawa dolls, which are cloth figures representing the diversity of ethnic communities in Colombia.
The name of this composition is derived from the words Mina (his mother’s last name) and Wa, which means ‘origin’ in the indigenous Wiwa language. Since the launch of the project, he has given conferences and workshops against racism and discrimination against not only ethnic groups, but people with disabilities and diverse people.
“Without thinking about it, from the very beginning I had an ethno-educational project in hand. Through ‘dolls’ we set training procedures to recognize the aesthetics of ethnic communities, people with disabilities or diverse genders, with which , we are already turning the industry upside down.Mayerly Montano says
Currently, Minawa teaches workshops at universities, private companies, social and cultural organizations, a project made possible thanks to the ES Cultura local scholarship, which Mayorli won in 2022. The initiative has also been honored by the High Council of Peace, Victims and reconciliation.
“People assume that all Africans look the same, but at Minawa, although there are many prototypes, no one looks like the other, and we handle seven skin tones trying to cover up the different colors so that people feel that’s an impressive variety”Cultural manager.
For Mayorli, in Bogotá, Afro identity is always imagined from the Pacific shores, so the project seeks to claim the city as a platform for Afro culture that all Afro-diasporic cultures can enter.
Mayerli also subverts these fantasies with his musical group called Borjo, which he has been a part of since 2018 and contributes with his rap vibes, a genre he has been passionate about since his teenage years.
“We have an album called Tirando Paso which also features members of the band Doctor Crapula, and it is an electronic, rock and urban mix. Borjo is considered as an export-type product. It is a name in Spanish that attracts attention and is also a super tasty fruit that has not been given the importance it deserves, so we want to give the world a little bit of Borojo so that it can understand the diversity that exists in Colombia”Meena says.
Currently, Mayerli also leads a national network of entrepreneurs with an ethnic focus, which aims to generate their own economies, promote ethnic-development through ancestral knowledge, and exchange product sales in different cities across the country. To provide and share.
“In Colombia, work must be done every day to deconstruct that idea of colonialism and racism. There are still many people who do not know or believe that racism exists in the country. The experiences of all people of color should be respected. But, we must take advantage of this day of Afro-Colombia and cultural diversity to recognize that we not only come from Africa, but that we have created the region with our knowledge, our history, our culture and our ancestry. It’s also a day to honor all those who have passed away so that we can be here to represent them all, everyone and everyone.”Mayerly concluded.