Eliciano Membache

Wounaan Embera Cocobolo Wooden Cougar / Panther Sculpture by Eliciano Membache



Embera Cocobolo Wood


Beautiful example of traditional Wounaan wood carving from the peoples living along the Panamanian and Columbian border. Carved from cocobolo, a tropical hardwood found in the region. Signed by the artist underneath.

Artist Biography

From the University of Panama: "The wooden sculptures of Eliciano Membache Donisabe are coveted for the detail that he prints on them, and the ability of the artist who works at the University of Panama, to exalt nature and the cultural richness of the country through his works of art. . In your hands, a rustic piece of cocobolo wood can recreate the flight of a gigantic harpy eagle, the national bird of Panama, a jaguar that walks with stealth, a Marlin fish in all its magnitude, or carve busts, which are part of its portfolio of works. The artist's greatest inspiration comes from nature and his close experiences with the indigenous, says Membache, who began carving wood when he was just 12 years old. "... it was out of curiosity to see a relative who carved wood to make toys for their children, that's where my interest in learning to work with wood is awakened," he recalls. He learned by his own means, and managed to excel in this activity in a short time despite the fact that he did not have a formal education, "I am self-taught in carving," he says. Membache considers that the ability to learn to carve is a blessing from God, since it went from being her childhood hobby, to an activity that allows her to increase family income, while enhancing Panamanian art. Although he is self-taught, some of his works can reach thousands of dollars for the fine almost photographic details that the artist achieves, the most expensive work he has sold was a Marlin fish ten feet wide, and 9 feet tall . Menbache assures that each work requires a great personal effort since he has to share the time between his regular work, and the carving of the works that he usually does on request, in the handicraft workshop that he has installed on December 24. in the El Valle de Cerro Azul Community. Once he has the wood and the necessary tools for the carving available, he dedicates around 4 hours a day to work a piece for a period between 15 days and a month, depending on the size and details that it takes, or that the client requests. To carry out a carving, he uses a chainsaw, the machete, the drill, the dremel, the different kinds of chisels, the sandpaper, and the rubber, all essential tools for the elaboration of his works. Membache considers that people like his works because of the detail that he prints on them, always highlighting the native indigenous, which differentiates him from other artists who also work with wood. Although his greatest reward is to have the work of Panamanian artists valued, he also aspires to be recognized as an international sculptor not only for his works, but for his ability to train future sculptors among young people of his ethnicity. His trajectory The sculptor Eliciano Membache Donisabe was born 49 years ago in the province of Darién where he lived with his parents Amador Menbache and his mother María Donisabe. While still a child, Eliciano, known as the "Indio" moved with his mother to the community of Maje, located in the District of Chiman, province of Panama where he lived with his grandparents and uncles, in that same place he made the first years of study at Maje Primary School where he learned to read and write. Membache remembers that stage of his life as one of the most difficult that he has faced, since he could not continue with high school despite being a high-average student, due to the lack of resources and support, after which his life was frustrated. I dream of going to university, and studying a professional career. Although it was an unfortunate moment that marked his childhood, the artist believes that it is also an experience that helped him grow, and be creative enough over the years to fulfill his goals. Membache is a jovial man, of few words but frank and sincere conversation, he enjoys helping others, and cooperating where he is needed as part of his social commitment, in contrast, he rejects the lack of commitment of people. He describes himself as a family man, and a spiritual person who loves the word of God since he professes the evangelical Christian faith, being a faithful believer that moral values, respect, perseverance, and sincerity can lead to success. “I have two heroes, God the Father and my mother who always was and has been my greatest admirer and motivator in my art,” she affirms. However, Membache greatly values ??having a family of his own that supports him in all the professional and personal projects he undertakes. 32 years ago he joined Eva Jinguimia with whom he had seven children, the three oldest have inherited the artist's skills as they also carve wood, and are inspired by living nature recreating animals such as dolphins, fish, snakes and harpy eagles. He claims to be proud that his children follow his teachings, and hopes that his four children, while still young, can carry on the family legacy. Since 2009 he has worked as a technician at the University of Labor and the Third Age of Darien at the University of Panama, a job that has allowed him to fulfill part of his dream of teaching other people the skills to turn wood into works of art."


H 6.25 in. x W 16.5 in. x D 11 in.
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Wounaan Embera Cocobolo Wooden Cougar / Panther Sculpture by Eliciano Membache