My name is James Bamba, and I am a Chamorro traditional weaver. I have chosen the name Ginen Guåhan, which is a ChamorroChamorro: n./adj. the name of the indigenous people of the Marianas Archipelago, North Western Pacific Ocean and their language. word meaning “From Guam” to describe me and what I do. I’m from the beautiful island of Guam, and I enjoy doing the things from Guam. I love weaving, carving, and all the other things that my island has to offer. I chose this phrase to represent who I am, what I do, and ultimately as my business’ name.
I’m a thirty-four year old traditional and contemporary Chamorro artisan from the island of Guåhan (Guam), Marianas archipelago, living in the beautiful village of Tutuhan (Agana Heights). My main trade is traditional weaving, weaving since 1995. I’ve been taught by my uncle Pedro, my auntie Wåwe’ and a few others who were generous enough to bestow upon me that which has been passed down from our elders for the past four thousand years and before. I am mainly self taught in the contemporary sense, using the traditional weaving skills my aunt and uncle generously granted me to mentally create new and exciting pieces and reproduce them through my hands. I’ve also traveled to some far off places, and studied with and collaborated with exceptional weavers from all walks of life and unique cultures. When the spirit moves me, I delve into other trades, always trying to improve my skills in body ornamentation and artifact reproduction. I carve many materials, wood, seashell, bone, stone and horn. I also make miniature models of traditional Chamorro artifacts.
My Mission and Work
I am the sole proprietor of Ginen Guåhan, the commercial aspect of my work, but outside of selling my creations at local fairs and via the internet, I also do much community service, introducing Guam’s youth and others abroad to the ancient art of CHamoru weaving. My mission is to preserve, protect & perpetuate the CHamoru culture through all my endeavors as an indigenous CHamoru artisan from the island of Guåhan. To this end, I have offered and continue to offer numerous workshops, classes and presentations in the public and private school systems, through local businesses and via the internet centered around weaving, as this is my focus and specialty.
Guinahan Chamorro is an art gallery that was nestled in the heart of Guam in mångge’ town.. Mangilao village. It used to be located off of Veteran’s Memorial Hwy (old Route 16) right across the street from Dominoes Pizza and Winchills donuts. The main gallery I subscribe to, this shop is run by Julie “Jill” Benavente, skilled weaver and carver. Jill has been one of the integral facets in my growing as an artist since I first came into the “scene” in 1999. I’ve been weaving since 1995, but didn’t think to show myself and my work till several years later at the 1999 Micronesian Islander Fair on Guam.. Since then, she’s helped me grow as an artist, given me much knowledge and insight into our culture and helps me to better understand how to engage my art. The shop has been moved to it’s new home at the Sågan Kotturan CHamoru Cultural Center in Tamuning and will reopen its doors on July 31, 2014. If you have the opportunity to visit them, enjoy, and tell them, James Bamba sentcha!
Guampedia Community Gallery from July 24-30th, 2014., at the Julale Shopping Center, Hagåtña, Guam.
Let it Bead A wonderful gallery of beaded jewelry and the likes. Run by the most wonderful, and compassionate Kris Avina-Roscoe. Her sanctuary for fellow jewelry makers was located on historic Cannery Row, Monterey, California. Up on the second floor, right above Sly McFly’s resturant, in 2009 she moved her shop to Greenvill, PA. Her website is www.letitbead.com and although I believe she said she’s not accepting orders through it (major overhaul of the site) I highly recommend visiting it, and if you’re ever in the area, visiting her wonderful treasure trove of jewelry. If you’re ever there, tell Kris that I sentcha! She’ll be happy that you came.
Che’lu store located in the Chamorro village, this store features many original items and concepts. Quote from their webpage…
The business, Che’lu, is the creation of two brothers from the beautiful and friendly island of Guam in the Marianas. It is our hope to inspire and encourage the younger generations of the world to share the unique gift that God has given to each one of us. “
Jose and Liz Rosario have helped me out by allowing me to showcase my art in their store, and has been gracious enough to allow me to use their Wednesday night market booth space to help sell my wares.. Where would we be without generous people like them? If you’re ever in Guam, it is a must see to stop by the Chamorro Village to see the wonderful artifacts and goods on display and for sale at Che’lu. Tell them James Bamba sent you.. They’ll be glad you stopped by..
Guam Gallery of Art: located at the Chamorro Village, this gallery features many Chamorro and non-Chamorro artists. Overall, in my opinion, the largest selection of local artists creations on island. I however, no longer feature my creations there.