Entre Nubes (Between Clouds) - PhMuseum

Entre Nubes (Between Clouds)

Ana Vallejo

2016 - Ongoing

Bogota D.C., Colombia

Colombia is the country with the highest internal displacement in the world. Being a centralized country, a considerable percentage of this migration concentrates in the capital. "Entre Nubes" is an artistic experiment which takes place in San German, an informal neighborhood located on the southern outskirts of Bogotá, next to the Entre Nubes nature reserve. Here, displaced families from all regions of Colombia converge, including ethnic minorities, ex-militaries, and ex-guerrillas, revealing the country’s complicated context.

Living in an "illegal" neighborhood implicates living in a marginal Bogotá, where the land is constantly disputed, the police don’t arrive and violence is often the first option for conflict resolution. “Entre Nubes” organizes and documents creative workshops in the territory, that aim to provide safe spaces for profound experiences to take place and to ignite ideas and common interests within the community.

Much of the workshops so far have focused on painting houses in the neighborhood with the guidance of renowned street artists. We chose this medium following James Q Wilson's Broken Windows theory which states that investing in the public space of a community can help transform the social dynamics in the place. So far, “Entre Nubes” has painted 13 houses with the community.

I have been photographing the place since 2016. In January 2020 I took the prints to the community and organized a collage workshop for kids in the neighborhood. We are also currently editing intimate conversations between community members. These conversations reveal nuances of the people who make up this place and also touch on universal aspects of human relationships. “Entre Nubes” has also helped finance the materials needed to begin the construction of a communal house in the neighborhood, a project led by the urbanism collective @en-material and the community. All these initiatives seek to strengthen the identity and sense of belonging in San German.

Entre Nubes has been self-financed by tickets sold for a Caribbean party held in May 2019, by selling prints from the project, and with paint donations from @bandybandygallery.

In the future, we would like to offer longer workshops where children and young adults get to imagine and create a visual representation of their longings and dreams for the future of the neighborhood, and also organize a large scale exhibit inside the neighborhood of all the work done in the past three years.

People who have participated so far:

Street Artists:

@iam_mrjoe

@gabrielangelart

@tangara.arte

@teck24horas

@tintadelrio

@jaalmiron

@tatyteart

@tonraton

@sebagua

@negritamambo

@21cuervos

@malcrewoficial

@fonso.co

@cigarraentinta

Musicians:

@andy_oooh

@magicman_dj

Graphic designer:

@kpamaki

Artists:

@versusyuma

@dylanquintero

@docteurmiller

@danielaariza

Psychologist:

@kama_chong

Urbanists/Architects:

@EN-MATERIAL

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  • Mary Natalia Guaracá. 16-year-old single mother. She was displaced with her family from Caquetá by the FARC. Even though she misses her hometown, she feels safer living in San Germán. She goes to the Eucalyptus forest near her house when she seeks peace.

  • San Germán is located on the Eastern Hills in the periphery of South East Bogotá. The Entre Nubes reserve delimits the northern part of the neighborhood. Fragile and essential species like Espeletias, a water filtering plant, are found in this tundra ecosystem. San Germán had a demographic explosion in 2016 when Arley, the barrio’s social leader arrived. He began to offer pieces of land to people in need and/or displaced by the armed conflict. In August 2018, 270 houses were counted inside the neighborhood. Before that, there were only around fifteen houses in the area.

  • The interior of Miguel Navas's house. 60 years old. He was displaced by armed forces from Granada, Meta thirty years ago.

  • Luis Alberto and Andrea Suárez. 21 and 24 years old respectively. They have a five-year-old boy and a three-year-old girl together. Luis Alberto is the son of Hermes, one of the oldest settlers in the neighborhood. Hermes is social leader in the barrio and member of the community board, which governs the neighborhood in response to the absence of the government.

  • Members of the neighborhood came together to move cement posts that were not being used in the Entrenubes park. This was done with the approval of the rangers of the park. The posts were installed in San German to provide pirate electricity for the houses.

  • Members of the community board use walkie talkies and a megaphone to diffuse important information, to announce meetings, and work and cleaning sessions inside the neighborhood. Construction is a constant in San German. On weekends, members of the neighborhood gather to fix and construct the territory. In response to the absence of common areas in the neighborhood, its members decided to build a house to promote social and cultural activities. This project is being developed with the help of independent urbanism collectives that have been working in the neighborhood since 2018.

  • Many people in the neighborhood do not trust the police. In September 2016 there was a police raid, with around 200 policemen and a helicopter, in which they tried to evict the neighborhood. Six supposed gang leaders were arrested. They were out the same day as no evidence was found against them.

  • Lizet and Karen Daniela are cousins and are both 10 years old. Their families were displaced from Barbacoas, Nariño by armed groups. Every Sunday, Karen Daniela and her brother get dressed up and go to a Christian mass. Karen Daniela's father was murdered in May 2019 by his brother in law inside the neighborhood. Her aunt, brother, and cousin have all fled back to the Pacific Coast.

  • House painted by @jaalmiron during one of the street art workshops.

  • Marisol, 16 years old, was displaced with her family from the Pacific Coast.

  • Jerinson, 30 years old. He is an ex-military from Puerto Córdoba. In 2017, while he was living in Puerto Córdoba, he stepped on an exposed electric cable walking back home at night. He lives with his partner and two kids in San Germán since June 2017. He is unemployed and receives a monthly pension from the army which is the household's only income.

  • People from the community wrote down wishes they have for San German's future.

  • Esmeralda Aramburo Cangá, 31 years old. In 2005, 11 of her cousins ​​were killed in the "Punta del Este" massacre in her hometown in Buenaventura. According to Esmeralda, she denounced the drug trafficker behind the murders. The authorities were bribed by the drug trafficker and revealed that she filed the complaint. Due to this, she had to flee to Bogotá, leaving her five children in the care of relatives. In 2013 she went to visit her family and soon found out that men in Buenaventura were looking for her and Arley, the neighborhood's social leader, to kill them. At that moment they decided to flee and took a bus from Tunja to Bogotá, starting a life from scratch together with only ten thousand pesos (3 UDS) in their pockets.

  • @negritamambo paints a house with the help of the children who live there.

  • Luna, ten years old, and her sister Yaleidi , three years old, pose after a collage workshop. They migrated with their family from the Pacific Coast.

  • Sandra 20 years old, feeds her 11 month baby. She migrated from Buenaventura and lives in San German with her husband, their two children and his family.

  • Construction is a constant in San German. On weekends, members of the neighborhood gather to fix and construct the territory. In response to the absence of common areas in the neighborhood, its members decided to build a space to promote social and cultural activities. This project has been financed by the money urbanism collectives that work with the community since 2018 and by a Caribbean Party hosted by this project.

  • Sofia migrated with her family from the Pacific Coast.

  • On humid days the hills are filled with fog. Hence, the name of the nature reserve next to San German: Entre Nubes (Between Clouds)

  • Although there are no common areas in San German, children always find places to play.


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