Kuna Yala (San Blas Archipelago), Panama.
The matriarch of the family surveys the activity around her house. Kuna society is a matrilineal society in which the women choose their mates. Their power is reinforced by the fact that they earn the majority of the family income through sales of mola blouses. Their magnificent traditional dress--as opposed to the drab second-hand western clothing of the men--is a statement of their status.
This Kuna grandmother tries to shield her eyes from the angular light of the late afternoon. She smokes her pipe as she sews. She has been hurrying to complete a few mola
panels and is reluctant to interrupt her work. She hopes to sell her
textiles to tourists who will be arriving on a steamship at a
neighboring island in two days.