Corinne Bally

A professional life rich in experiences and based on literature, communication, art and crafts, a personality marked by intellectual curiosity, passion and respect for others.  In a nutshell this is what characterizes Corinne Bally.

a unique

After spending ten years in France managing European Community pilot projects for artisans and artists, Corinne opened a gallery in Spain.

Eight years after opening that gallery, it’s both, literature and art, that leads her to Central America.

This trip, decided after reading a book about Panama, gave a new turn to her life.

She was soon struck by the beauty and uniqueness of the little-known Embera art. An art form handed down by indigenous women in the heart of the wild Darién jungle

« Because I love to seek out beauty and nobility, I chose to work with the indigenous women of Central America, magicians with marvellous savoir-faire. »


In 2012 she decided to close her gallery in Spain to devote herself completely to indigenous art.

No one has worked before with the Embera tribes in the heart of the Central American jungle. Darien is one of the most dangerous regions in the world, inhospitable and very difficult to access.

Corinne does not have a workshop but she works directly with the indigenous women, regularly visiting their homes and staying in the communities, in the families, sharing their daily lives.

This is a totally atypical project, based on observation, respect and exchange, combining anthropological work and safeguarding a cultural heritage.

Over the years, this unusual relationship has led to the development of a genuine collaboration.

The ancestral origins of this know-how, the magical rites linked to the manufacture of masks were unknown. With the exception of the Frenchman, Michel Perrin, with whom Corinne soon came into contact, few ethnologists have studied the production of these small tribes, with their way of life preserved.  So she had to investigate, on the ground, the forgotten origins and meanings of this art, and also to contact the best artisans to entrust them with specific commissions. 

It is a collaboration of great value to have the knowledge of an anthropologist of indigenous origin with whom she is currently collecting the myths, legends and rituals of the Embera culture.

There's something magical about this project, which brings us, through each mask, the essence and beauty of an extraordinary work, full of meaning and rich in symbolism.

Each item sold honours this extraordinary deep knowledge and helps support  and sustain these women producers and their families, by enabling them to continue living in their traditional environments, far from the big city.

The Corinne Bally gallery is born

After helping to perpetuate and bring to light a little-known and endangered know-how, this extraordinary collaboration is now bringing extraordinary pieces of art to life.

The masks created now combine the magic of the shamanic rituals of these people with the artistic creation that Corinne encourages by channelling the energy of each craftswoman she knows personally.

She will work with the myths, dreams and collective unconscious of these animist tribes and collaborate more closely with the craftswomen in whom she detects a real gift, an artistic gift alongside the gift of clairvoyance.

Working symbiotically with the indigenous women over the years, she has created new colours, shapes and sizes. These are ambitious projects, designed for decoration.

These masks are true works of art, sitting right at the juncture of modern art and ritual objects.

No images, no sketches ­– these are not part of the Embera culture, and the women do not use them - but based on words, exchanges and a great mutual understanding. We talk about dreams, myths, evil spirits, the spirit of the river or the spirit of someone who has disappeared.

Corinne draws her inspiration from legends and real-life experiences and suggests that the craftswoman create projects with particular characteristics.

As each project develops, communication and collaboration between the designer and the craftswoman will be constant and will guide the work.

Made in the heart of the jungle, these masks are the culmination of projects suggested by the designer and imbued with the culture and imagination of the craftswoman.

By spending so much time in this remote wilderness region, Corinne gradually came into contact with other indigenous communities and discovered ritual and everyday objects to incorporate into her collections. She attracted small groups of indigenous people to her project, who were happy to collaborate with her and teach her the secrets of their culture, such as the Woonan and the Kuna, who live in the same region as the Embera.

Little by little, sacred art objects joined the mask collections. The masks themselves lent themselves to new artistic creations, such as talisman necklaces.

It was at this point that Corinne also met a sculptor Manel Galià. She had the same response as when she first saw the masks. Corinne was fascinated by the work of this solitary artist. He was also touched by the power of the masks.

To be able to marvel and wonder, to stop at the right time and in the right place, to be able to recognise and accept one's intuition.

This is a turning point for Corinne, who is taking a fresh look at art and combining the magic of masks with the ethereal, sensitive world of sculpture and the enchantment of indigenous sacred art.

A sense of beauty, respect for tradition, a wealth of experience and enormous sincerity are at the heart of all this.

Corinne Bally holds a master's degree in literature and a masters in international communication from Blaise Pascal University in Clermont-Ferrand.
For twelve years, in France, she worked on newly created European Union programmes, supporting artisans across Europe.
She opened her art and artisan gallery in Valencia, Spain in 2006 and in  2012, she created Ethic & Tropic, evolving over the years thanks to a great deal of creativity and consistency.