Introducing Ana Maria Parada, multidisciplinary artist and owner of social enterprise Mami Watta Collections.
Tell me a bit about you, your career & what gets you up in the morning.
I am a multidisciplinary practising artist with a background in political research and community work. My academic training through my Honours degree in Political, Economic and Social Sciences and a Diploma in Community Services together with my lived experience growing up in a country full of beauty, yet so impacted by corruption, armed violence and extreme income inequality have really influenced the way I perceive the world. I have spent the last decade working in the community sector in employment, education and disability services. I am also an entrepreneur and run a social enterprise that provides employment and visibility to the Indigenous artisan community from Latin America.
What gets me up in the morning is knowing I can have an impact in the world and that by making use of the skills I have within me to contribute to the collective, this feeds back to me helping me evolve as an individual and helps me experience deeper love.
Life is busy - how do you manage to fit everything in?
Life is definitely busy. Organising my time is a must. Google Calendar is a lifesaver. Me time is a non-negotiable. Delegating is crucial, being ok with accepting that you cannot do absolutely everything and that if you keep trying you will burn out. Of course this requires trusting others, and that process can burn you too, but it's important. And finally also accepting that things don't always go to plan, that plans can fall through, that other people don't deliver as promised and that uncontrollable things happen. You still have to get up and continue, which means being resilient.
How did you know this was the right path for you? What support networks do you have?
I have learned about what I love by experiencing what I don't love. Lots of jobs that I didn't like, lots of time spent in dark offices staring at a computer and day dreaming of what could be, asking myself if this was really all life could bring me. Reading about the journeys of world leaders and understanding their trajectory to get there have been great examples.
I have great support networks like family, friends, artist mentors, business mentors and organisations that back my work. I have done a huge amount of volunteering, where I have met like minded people and organisations.
What are your top 3 tips for women wanting to do something totally out of the box?
Spend less time wondering what it would be like and get started on something. As little as it is, everything starts somewhere.
As women we are so quick to want to protect and save others, we end up entering into situations where we sacrifice our dreams for others. So watch who you dedicate yourself to and if that person is also being reciprocal in that interaction. If the person (partner, friend, family) does not support you in being your better self, let them go.
Nurture links with other women with similar visions. Cherish sisterhood connections.
We don't empower indigenous communities, they empower us with their unique approaches to life and relationship to land. we are more a platform for tribes to share their art making, so they can find a viable and sustainable way of life where they don't need to give up their traditional practices and instead their works can be admired and represented across the globe.
Embera Chami Tribe, Risaralda Colombia - Luz Mila, Head Beader of Mami Watta Collections.