The artistic project ATRATO was made in 2015 by Fernando Arias, Colombian artist, and director of Más Arte Más Acción, in cooperation with Robert Lippok.
ATRATO is inspired by the meaning of the trip as an introspective process of appreciating the richness, the beauty where the river flows and confronting the environmental and socio-economic problems of the region. This is a necessary journey to understand the importance of protecting the biodiversity of tropical forests in Colombia. The informative portal www.rioatrato.org was created to continue this work.
The Atrato River flows through one of the most biodiverse jungles on Earth. You will find lots of wood, minerals, gold, platinum and other "resources" for the world's consumption. Nevertheless, there are indigenous and Afro-descendant communities that have lived here for centuries, it is their territory. Armed groups and multinational companies are struggling to gain access to it. The displacements of these communities have increased in the last decade.
Along the 750 kilometres of its course, the ATRATO River irrigates four sections with different geomorphological characteristics. The ATRATO can be divided into three parts, the upper basin, which runs from its source to the city of Quibdó, the middle basin, which runs from the city of Quibdó to the town of Bellavista, and the lower basin, which runs from the town from Bellavista until it flows into the Gulf of Urabá. The ATRATO River crosses the Natural Park of Los Katíos and then it is divided into seven mouths, whose waters flow into the Gulf of Urabá and also serve as access to the park mentioned before.
The river after the mouth of the river Bojayá, bifurcates in two arms, called Murindó and Montaño, forming what is called the Big Island, to join again in the vicinity of the town of Domingodó. In its middle and lower basins, it has relatively low slopes, which allows its navigation to the city of Quibdó, the capital of the department of Chocó.
The Atrato floodplains and their different fiysiogeographical units form an extensive biological corridor that goes from the middle zone of its basin to its mouth in the Atlantic Ocean. In the navigable channel of the Atrato, many species of animals -migratory groups- inhabit this place because they find in this region the optimal conditions for their reproduction. The high availability of food from the wetland -mostly piscivores- provides them with variety and abundance. Neotropical Ciconiiformes birds generally inhabit wetlands such as lagoons, swamps, as well as courses and water mirrors, where they use these environments as feeding sites during the non-breeding season, preferring fish, crustaceans and insects in their diet.
The main agents that directly threaten the species are: the loss of habitat due to the transformation of forests into crops; the selective felling of the timber trees that are the refuge and habitat of the species; the indiscriminate hunting of species, and the intense legal and illegal mining with mercury and cyanide that is poisoning these waters, which represent the backbone of the communities that cohabit on its banks.