Rosina Ynzenga has been living in Casco Viejo for 15 years. Related to the family of the well-known Panamanian photographer Sandra Eleta, with whom she not only shares photography as her passion but also helps support the artistic legacy of the Congo communities through her store Karavan Gallery on 3rd Street, Casco Viejo. Through the years, she has worked with different indigenous communities, like the Guna, Emberá and Nogle. Founder of the Mua Mua Foundation, she has helped new generations of different indigenous communities of Panama to appreciate and value their own cultural heritage as one of the invaluable Panamanian treasures.
This month, Rosina has inaugurated Mia Mia, a new space which she defines as an adventure. It is an artisanal center. Mia Mia, in Guna means “to be curious”. Here we let her tell us a bit about the Project.
¿How did Mia Mia came to life?
This is the result of many years of work supporting artisans. I always believed that Casco needed a space where to host those cultural expressions really made inside homes, in private and silence, throughout Panamanian territory. Mia Mia hopefully is a home where artisans can show their work, their technique and culture. Thanks to the American Trade hotel we have this space that allows Mia Mia to exist.
Does it have a meaning? I read in a guna- Spanish dictionary that it means “to see, to see everywhere”.
Yes, it means to see but also to be curious. It is our hope that people who visit us can experience curiosity when looking at the products and their design. Plus, they can touch the original city wall that is in the property´s patio. To feel curiosity, come and see.
Who is participating in the market?
The idea was to open on April 1st 2020, but circumstances didn´t allow it. First we wanted the artisans themselves to be there, but for now we only have their products. We hope to be able to return to the original idea soon. You can see Embera masks and baskets, but also pieces by Yaneca, the founder of the artistic movement at the “Portobelo Workshop”. There are products from different provinces and indigenous communities.
Which one is your favorite piece?
I´m not sure because for me each one hides a story. Each piece represents the effort of artisans that with their knowledge they are passing on what I call “the Panamanian cultural passport”. So hard to pick!
What is your Schedule? How can people get in touch with you?
MIA MIA opens from Tuesdays to Sundays, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. You can contact us through our Instagram @ miamiacentroartesanal or Whatsapp 65058856. We´ll be delighted to receive you in the center, even if just to take a look! We hope it becomes a stop for everyone curious about artisans in Panama.