We met MAAARI in March of 2019, when they came to visit us in Lake Sebu. We have already known them through ANTHILL Fabric Gallery but it was our first time meeting them in person. They came with their tools and knowledge on jewellery making but more importantly, they came with an open mind and an eagerness to learn our story.
Before we started Sesotunawa, our working relationships with our clients rarely gave us the opportunities to learn and grow as masters of our art traditions. Often times, our contribution in the production process was only to execute design sketches that were made available to us or to create products using our cultural symbols and aesthetics based on the creative direction of our clients.
Establishing our own brand allowed us to gain deeper appreciation of our cultural resources as well as our individual gifts as masters of our art traditions. Through collaboration and co-creation with our partners, we were able to contribute in the design thinking process and became more confident in our role not only as producers or suppliers, but also as designers and movers of our culture and identity.
As a brand, we believe not only in the power of working together but also in the power of learning together. Our enriching skill share session with MAAARI was an affirmation of our dream. In the process of learning from each other, we were able to recognize the valuable knowledge and skills that we own and share with each other.
This is the kind of partnership that we look forward to nourish and continue – a working relationship that provides a fair space for mutual learning and growth.