Sobeida Cabezon

We know Sobeida by her incredibly detailed black and white geometrics. Not created with wide modern shapes, but with tiny stitches in intricate motifs that, seen together, are similar to pointillism. Sobeida Cabezon Membache was born in the village of Maje, a major Wounaan village int the Darien rainforest. She was born in 1984, to a very large traditional family. Migrating from the Colombian Wounaan to Panama, her father and mother raised their family of seven girls and two boys in the village. A total of four of the daughters are weavers.

Like many in her village, Sobeida only received a 6th grade education. The government supplies access to free education until the 6th grade in rural Panama, and that’s where it ends for most people. Many Wounaan further their education by moving to the village of Chepo on the outskirts of the city, where there are more schools.

She started weaving baskets when she was 10 years old. At the time she was weaving geometric baskets, similar to now. Her first basket sold for $5, after that she was hooked. Sobeida’s father gathers the shredded palm, and she dyes all the materials with her own colors. Her favorite motif is geometric and she likes making them in black.

Sobeida, like so many other Wounaan, prefers the village life to the city life. She spends her income on education for her four children, where school supplies and uniforms are mandatory. She and her husband are both artisans, he in wood carving and fishing and she in weaving intricate and complicated baskets.