Mana Cipriana Amaral and her interpreter, Maun Jose Sabino Ximenes, arrive on Tuesday, July 9, in New Mexico to attend and exhibit at the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market on July 12-14. Mana Cipriana is the first-ever Timor-Leste artisan to be accepted into the Market. She represents the Feto Forte (“Strong Women”) Quelicai Weavers Group. Her participation is supported by Inti Raymi Fund, with assistance from Sandler Trade LLC, Alola Fundasaun and the Embassy of Timor-Leste, Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Mana Cipriana will be selling handwoven tais mane (men’s cloth) and tais feto (women’s cloth), including ikat. Mana Cipriana and the Feto Forte (“Strong Women”) Quelicai Weavers Group’s vibrant cotton weavings use red stripes to convey the distinctive characteristics of the people from the Makasae region: bravery, curiosity and energy. Women learn the motifs of their family and their husband’s family, spin cotton, apply locally-made dyes and weave unique designs using the traditional backstrap loom. The tais mane (men’s cloth) and tais feto (women’s cloth) are worn for ceremonies, used as dowry and exchanged as barter. The women’s cloth is worn in a tubular manner; the men’s cloth, around the waist.
The Feto Forte (“Strong Women”) Quelica Weavers Group is a cooperative in the Baucau District. The Weavers Group uses the proceeds from the sales of tais feto and tais mane to support their savings and loan program.