Maji Moto Maasai Women’s Project
Medium of Work:
Santa Fe: 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2019
The Maji Moto Maasai Women’s Project, located in Kenya’s Maasai Mara Reserve, is flourishing thanks to the diligent work of its all-female team of 40 master bead-working artisans.
Maasai beadwork has always been in a state of evolution, as is often the case with folk art. Just as the use of seeds, bones, leather, and stones gave way to the incorporation of purchased glass beads, earring hooks and manufactured cloth, today’s Maasai artisans are opening their creative minds to the use of other materials, methods, designs and products. It’s no surprise to see new items appear on a regular basis.
For example, new necklace styles that break from tradition are being created. The traditional cascading tiered layers of beads that drape from the neck are reinterpreted by Majo Moto’s artists with shorter strands, making it easier to wear with western clothing or to hang on the wall.
Maji Moto’s artists also create imminently wearable, joyfully colorful woven bracelets, necklaces, and earrings, and even offer shirts with brightly beaded and thoughtfully designed beaded adornments. The female members of this fantastically creative collective collaborate on new ideas for their traditional art. Those who are veterans in the field of traditional Maasai bead-working teach others, so that collectively they continue to increase their capacity to care for themselves, their children, and their community.