Olinda Silvano Inuma (1969, Loreto) Belongs to the Shipibo Konibo community. Her name is “René Jasbe” which means “the first breath. She was born in the native community of Paoyhan, Padre Márquez District. She has 4 children. She is an artisan mother who lives in the Community of Cantagallo. Cantagallo, the first urban Shipibo community located in Cercado de Lima. She is currently 47 years old and has developed murals and part of the management of the Amazon forum held at the PUCP.

“El líder tiene que buscar, hallar y encontrar.

“The leader has to seek and find. We choose a leader to help the community not to benefit oneself, because the people choose you.

That is why my duty is to ensure that we all communicate to live in peace.”

sobre el arte

Art for me is life, because it is creating with a lot of feeling. When I do my work I concentrate because I do it with a lot of love. It is like beautifying a person, for example when we get up, one first bathes, then cleans, fixes up, like this, be poor but always clean, just like when I make my fabrics.

When I embroider with different details and colors, I feel that I am embellishing my fabrics. For me, art is also an important source of income for my home and is a way to spread our ancestral art [1] My grandmother Elvira taught me to do kene, then I have taught my sons and daughters, in this way memory is built on ancestral art. Now, I make murals together with two masters who are friends from the community and together we are improving; we do it with details and it looks more “sui” [2]

[1] Refers to the Shipibos community – Konibo

[2] ¨Sui¨ means fine in Shipibo language – Konibo


Being indigenous is having a lot of knowledge. For the community it is very important to live from what one sows, it is our way of living. You value yours because you yourself knocked down the stick, burned it, sowed it, cleaned it, harvested it, and from there you eat. It is very important for us to be together and to invite and share together. So when there is a party or celebration, everyone brings different foods, for example: soup, barbecue, patarashca[1], banana and yucca; little by little we all create a banquet where no one discriminates.

[1] ] It is a dish from the Peruvian jungle, in which the fish is traditionally wrapped in leaves and cooked directly on charcoal over a fire.


Arriving in Lima was complicated because it is different to live here, here you eat chicken every day, the fish smells because it does not come from fresh water. We live by eating fish, sachavaca[1] y venado. En mi tierra el pescado se caza del río, lo servimos sobre hoja de plátano y lo acompañamos con yuca; todo muy limpio y de otro olor.  No me gustaba la gaseosa y cuando lo tomaba lo combinaba con agua, estaba acostumbrada a tomar chapo[2] y masato[3], ], but there are no such drinks here. My husband told me: ¨If you don’t eat, you are going to die. After 3 months they detected gastritis, after a short time they took me to the emergency room. Then, I thought back and said to myself: “Remember, you have three children, you have to eat.” For my children I began to eat.

Extrañaba mucho mi tierra, cuando veía a algún paisano por la calle lo seguía y lo abrazaba. He pasado muchas cosas. Me di cuenta que me  faltaba mi comunidad. Hasta que un día unos primos me visitaron y me dijeron que todos los shipibos se iban a reunir para armar una comunidad. Dije: “Está es mi oportunidad”.

We went to see the terrain[4], ], there were people, but no Shipibos. They told us that we had to get 70 people, we were 10 and that we had to pay an amount. I built the first little house and here we would meet (the same house was still there after 17 years) and we organised ourselves. At night large mosquitoes would appear, prick you and swell, because they were mosquitoes with microbes. First, there were 12 of us, then 15 and when we reached 20 families we formed the Association of Shipibo Artisans Residents in Lima (Ashirel).

[1] Also called the Amazon tapir. It is the largest land mammal in South America. It lives in rainy areas near the river.

[2]Traditional jungle drink. The main ingredient is ripe banana.

[3]  Traditional jungle drink. Drink made with fermented yucca.

[4] Land of a former sanitary landfill that was also in dispute.


We have gone through discrimination and blows to build Cantagallo. There were groups of gang members and thugs who threw stones from across the river[1]. My son was 12 years old when one of the stones fell on him and hit his head, so we hid our children under the beds. Until one day we all agreed and decided to confront the gang members. “We have to face them!” I told them. Many were dedicated to fishing in their land, I was a fisher woman in my community so we decided to confront them with arrows that we made ourselves. “Now, men on the left and women on the right!” I warned. When they saw us I yelled: “Come on! Here, we have poisoned arrows, come on! You will kill us quickly but you will suffer slowly! ” The criminals upon seeing the arrows and hearing the threat began to retreat. None threw a stone. Here, let’s see who will die the fastest! I insisted. Since then the harassment dropped, but a group always stayed to watch in case something happened. In another confrontation, my father, Miguel Silvano Flores, a community leader, was leaving his house when suddenly one of the thugs hit him with 4 slats, (pieces of wood) beat him a lot. My sister came out and defended him, then the whole community started fighting the bullies. A few days later my sick father traveled to the jungle and there he died; they left him in great pain.

Also a child was burned. We did not have electricity at the beginning, the houses were lit by candlelight. At a neighbor’s house one of the candles fell and started the fire. The mother went to work and left her son locked inside. When we went to help him his heart was still beating, we took him to the medical post but he died there.

It was very sad.

[1] Cantagallo is located on the banks of the Rímac River. Close to the Balta Bridge, next to SETAME (Taxi Service), usually used as a warehouse. A few blocks from Congress.

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