Sandra Eleta Founding of Taller Portobelo Women’s Cooperative

Interviewee: Sandra Eleta
Biography: Born in Panama City, Sandra Eleta settled in Portobelo in the early 1970s and began photographing its residents, including the Congos, as a kind of photographic journal. “I needed a change,” she once told Renee Alexander Craft. “I needed to break away from everything I knew . . . I’ve lived many places, but I’ve never felt this sense of belonging before” (2003 interview). In addition to empathy, a spirit of collaboration, and wonder, Eleta brought “the privilege of the state, the corporate world, and the arts community” to bear on the Congo tradition and the community of Portobelo (Arturo Lindsay 2003 interview). Eleta is president of the Portobelo Foundation, which is dedicated to cultural preservation and co-founder of Taller Portobelo, which has been both a women’s cooperative textile art workshop and the workshop of the Congo artists of Portobelo, Panama. Her photographic books include: “Portobelolo”: Fotografia de Panama and Darien: A Book of Travels.
Excerpt Description: In this excerpt, Sandra Eleta discusses the founding and operation of Taller Portobelo Women's Cooperative, a textile-arts workshop for local women.
Entire Interview: Listen to the full interview and read the transcript.
Interviewer: Renee Alexander Craft
Secondary Interviewer: Lindsay Foster Thomas
Date of Interview: Jul-12
Interview Location: Her home in Portobelo, Panama
Interview Transcribed By: Oronike Odeleye
English Translation By: n/a
Ethnoracial Identity Discussed: N/A
Cultural Identity: N/A
Location Mentioned: Portobelo, Panama
Congo Spaces:
Congo Characters: N/A
Congo Tradition Mentioned: N/A
Cultural Organization: N/A
Themes Mentioned: Art, Economic empowerment, Legacy, Women's empowerment
Cultural Festivals: N/A
People Mentioned: N/A
Time Period Mentioned: 1980-1988
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Timestamp: 00:10:58.4-00:12:46.9

Photo by: Renee Alexander Craft