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Led by a desire to explore feminine power and mystique, NIINFA is interested in organic forms that are beautiful yet prickly [barbed, spiky, unsettling] . Like the lamiak from Basque mythology, upper bodies of alluring, long-haired maidens and webbed feet of ducks or hooves of goats, NIINFA bags embody that which is stunning and simultaneously unknown, holding the key to some feared otherness, often perceived as monstrous or pertaining to the chthonic. Handbags in themselves hold an unexplained mystery to them. Like female genitals, they are ideated as gaping, cavernous, and holding dark depths. Ask a man to go through a woman’s handbag to look for something as non threatening as a chapstick [key, dollar bill, wallet], and he will shudder in reluctance. Its otherworldly power commands a fear more shocking than that of brute force. Like the Spanish sayings, “tener colmillo” and “tener garra”, it has fangs; it has claws. It seeps in and takes hold. NIINFA bags can be interpreted as forged weapons or amulets of obscure magic and strength. They hold power and conjure female protection, character, and fortitude. Like all that is of nature and archetypically female, often violent and compulsive, there is beauty in its repulsion. 


Patricia Gárate