Chafil Cheucarama

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Chafil Cheucarama
Born Darién Province, Panama
Nationality Panamanian: Wounaan
Known for drawing, illustration, painting, tagua carving
Awards First prize OAS Children's Book Fair (1994)[1]

Chafil Cheucarama M. is a Wounaan artist and illustrator from Darién Province, Panama.

Early life[edit]

As a child Cheucarama watched his father carved intricate zoomorphic sculptures. He began carving tagua seeds, known as "vegetable ivory," as well. The linguist Ron Binder noticed Cheucarama's artistic skills in the village of Aruza in the early 1970s. The teenager carved representational toys from balsa wood.[2] Binder invited Cheucarama to move to Alcalde Díaz, where the young man was able to take art classes. Later he earned a degree in graphic design.[1]

Art career[edit]

The historian Reina Torres de Araúz hired Cheucarama to illustrate several of his books.[1] He was selected as "Panama's best illustrator."[2] Representing the Americas, he won first place in an OAS Children's Book Fair in Italy in 1994. Besides drawing with pen and ink, Cheucarama also paints in acrylics.[1] He is regarded as one of the most prominent artists in the Wounaan community.[3]

In 1998, Cheucarama was part of the show, "Tributo a la Patria" (Tribute to the Homeland).[4] In 2010, he exhibited at the Galería Manuel E. Amador in the University of Panama, as part of the group exhibit, "Expo Docente."[5][6]


The artist's son, Lanky Cheucarama is a notable tagua seed carver and a zookeeper at the Summit Zoo for the Panama Amphibian Rescue and Conservation Project.[3] Chafil Cheucarama's cousin, Selerino Cheucarama is a respected sculpture working in cocobolo wood and tagua seeds.[2]

Published work[edit]

  • Peña, Toño and Chafil Cheucarama M. Jãga wounaanau hãwãrr t'õojẽ: La pesca entre los wounaan. Panama. 1979.
  • Chindío Peña Ismare and Chafil Cheucarama M. Estudiante majepienau nem hĩgkʼatarr: cuentos y experiencias de algunos estudiantes de Majé en woun meu. Panama: Instituto Nacional de Cultura, 1980.
  • Ton̋o Pen̋a and Chafil M. Cheucarama. La Cestería, Un Trabajo Femenino (The Basketry of the Waunana Women). Panama: Instituto Nacional de Cultura, 1980.
  • Chafil Cheucarama M.; Ronald Binder; Phillip Lee Harms; Chindio Pena Ismare. Vocabulario Ilustrado: Wounmeu, Espanol, Epena Pedee. Bogotá: Asociacion Instituto Linguistico de Verano, 1995. ISBN 978-9582-10-142-8.
  • Gilma A Guerra de López; Chafil Cheucarama M. El árbol y el ruiseñor y otros cuentos. Panamá : Instituto Nacional de Cultura, 1995. Juvenile fiction.


  1. ^ a b c d "La Riqueza Indígena de Cheucarama." Casamérica. (Spanish) Retrieved 28 April 2013.
  2. ^ a b c Callaghan 28
  3. ^ a b Lindsay. "The story of the deer and the frog." Amphibian Rescue and Conservation Project. 9 Feb 2011. Retrieved 28 April 2013.
  4. ^ Marice, André. "Regreso a la pintura." Prensa. 7 Nov 2010. Retrieved 28 April 2013.
  5. ^ "Galería Manuel E. Amador: Calendario de exposiciones 2010." Universidad de Panamá. (Spanish) Retrieved 28 April 2013.
  6. ^ Valdes, Yessika. "Gama de arte en GAMA." PanamaAmerica. (Spanish) 20 August 2010. Retrieved 28 April 2013.


  • Callaghan, Margo M. Darién Rainforest Basketry. 4th Ed. Sun Lakes, AZ: HPL Enterprises, 2009. ISBN 978-9962-00-640-4.

Further reading[edit]

  • "Chafil Cheucarama, Jungle Artist, Named Panama's Best Illustrator." Notes on Literacy. Number 33, 1981.

External links[edit]