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'Maluana: tribal mythology painted on wood'

Thousands of kilometers into the jungle lives the small Wayana tribe quite isolated from most other Surinamese. A hand full of their artists make colorful maluana, a round wooden slice painted with mythological figures in four bright contrasting colors referring to the history of the Wayana people. Around them there are circles decorated with small triangles on the edges. For ages the maluana was suspended from the ceiling in the middle of the community hut and was made from the trunk of the majestic kankantrie *(wild cotton tree) .Now maluana in all sizes are painted on carefully managed cedar wood for tourists. The diverse mythological beings on the maluana symbolize the most important spiritual powers, which the Wayana met on their migration of the Amazon namely tokokosi and kuluwayak, very dangerous worms with two heads and mulukot, the mythical fish. Favorites are also the ant eater, the turtle, and birds or frogs. The selling of the maluana as handicraft is one of the few ways for the Wayana to break through their isolation and is an underlining of their unique cultural identity. See also article on maluanas in 'interesting articles'. 

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Lola Ankarapi

Date of birth:
15 december 1967

Birth place:
Suriname, Tapahoni, Tepoe

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