Detail of a Fernando Llort painting, showing his naive style
People often ask us about the symbolism behind the naive style of folk art, hand painted on our El Salvadorian products. Each piece reflects the images of the every-day life of the region: birds, flowers, animals, villagers and adobe houses. The images come from both what the artisans see around them and the spiritual presence of God in their hearts that allowed them to endure the hardships of civil war. The artists put their creativity and personality into each item so that the colors and designs are 100% unique.
Concern America works with the cooperative La Semilla de Dios ("The Seed of God"), which was founded August 27, 1977. Among the founders was the painter Fernando Llort, who sparked the now-famous La Palma artisan movement. Fernando's art is heavily influenced by the Mayan culture, and he has been able to mix modern ideas with a naive style of drawing.
Walking through the streets of La Palma as a young man, Fernando found a kid rubbing a little seed against the ground, and discovered that it had a white surface with a brown frame, "a framed painting" he thought, and he painted it with very small and colorful drawings.
Map of La Palma Region in El Salvador Portrait of Fernando Llort
That episode lead to the creation of the first workshop in La Palma, "La Semilla de Dios" (The seed of God), in reference to the seed that started it all. There, Fernando would start teaching the people from the town to draw and paint; an artisan movement was born, and La Palma went from being a mainly agricultural town, to one driven by art. Fernando's dream was now a reality and his idea would become the main source of income for a lot of families in La Palma, and would also transform the town into one of the most visited spots in El Salvador.
The cooperative now owns a piece of land in the mountains outside of town where they plant and sustainably harvest the trees that supply about 40% of their seeds and wood. The income provides better nutrition and educational opportunities for their children and grandchildren. To see our gorgeous selection of El Salvadorian crafts, please visit our shop.
Some of the fairly traded Crafts are for sale in our Marketplace