Festival in Florencia, Caquetá

From September 24 to October 9, 2016, the Festival SINFONÍA TRÓPICO was held in La Gloria neighbourhood of Florencia (Caquetá), with the support of UNHCR and the participation of 64 young people. The emphasis of this Festival was to support the social integration of the residents of the La Gloria neighbourhood by enhancing the cultural identity associated with the local biodiversity.

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Florencia - Caquetá

The main achievement of SINFONÍA TRÓPICO in the La Gloria district in Florencia, Caquetá, was to adapt the methodology that has been developed in other parts of the country to a population directly impacted by the conflict. Photography, painting and graffiti workshops, fashion design and music were held. In the end, there was a concert in which national artists were integrated with the local initiatives that UNHCR supports in the neighbourhood.


Camilo Martínez, music composer working with SINFONÍA TRÓPICO, was in charge of articulating the workshop with the local process of the neighbourhoods. During the working days, they managed to compose a song, which was received by the young people as a hymn of the Festival. Camilo explains that these young people are very worried about the use of the land:

... the armed conflict has a territorial origin and the boys directly affected by this violence ask a lot about this. One of the most recurrent questions is "what for are we going to use the land from now on.


Photography Workshop

Mateo Pérez led a workshop where he explored the neighbourhood with the young people and together, they took photographs of what was most beautiful and meaningful to them, with the idea of contributing to the creation of identity. A big social problem was identified between the 2 construction stages of the neighbourhood, which comes from the construction itself and the daily life in the neighbourhood.

Photography Exhibition
Photography Wokrshop Participants

They worked on the recovery and appropriation of the central street (which divides the two construction stages) of the neighbourhood, approaching this as a space for the integration and reconstruction of the social life through art. They called the street: "The Street of Artists".

"We made exhibitions of photographs, we painted platforms and invited all the neighbours to move from one place to another, as a symbol of breaking disputes," says one of the participants.


Diversity Mural

The need to give another air to the common spaces was recognized, to contribute to the process of improving relations between the inhabitants. With the support of the artist and painter Miguel Cárdenas, interventions were made at various public points and the Diversity Mural was painted, with the participation of several young promising local artists.

Drawing Workshop

They also intervened the House of Culture of the neighbourhood that the inhabitants built with the support of UNHCR and that has become the site for the development of artistic activities for children and young in the neighbourhood.


Under the guidance of the German fashion designer Matthias Strauss, 40 teenagers from La Gloria attended a fashion design and sewing workshop. Matthias invited them to bring old clothes, which the kids learned to upcycle in creative ways. Old t-shirts got a new sparkle and coloured patches made pans sassy and cool. Matthias also showed the participants in the workshop how to design their backpacks.

Textile Design Workshop

For the final event, the fashion workshop furnished the performers with new t-shirts. Karin Griesbeck, a SINFONÍA TRÓPICO supporter from Germany, assisted Matthias with the workshop and used this opportunity to teach the participants some basic German.


Given that SINFONÍA TRÓPICO had the peculiarity of being joint with the Festival for Life and Human Rights that the community has appropriated, the closing concert had that framework. The La Gloria neighbourhood houses 350 displaced families, who come from the different municipalities of the departments and who have had to build a social fabric that did not exist because each family comes from a different place and brings with its history of pain. That is why the development of productive and artistic initiatives to integrate into the municipality and address the poverty left by the armed conflict in the region, become a safeguard for the people who live there.

As Don Octavio Soto, president of the Community Action Board (JAC) of Stage 1, said:

We came from different areas of Caquetá and when we arrived we did not know what a video camera was, how to make a right of petition and neither the rights of victims, women and children. We have advanced in the care of the green areas, in having a sewage system and we integrate as brothers.

The week of work, as well as the concert, with which a whole cycle of social integration was closed, allowed the whole community to gather around the art and the children and young people of the neighbourhood, who with their joy, energy and strength, inspire adults to remain committed with their community.

In La Gloria neighbourhood, the effect of the violence in the country can be felt first hand, but this allows us to assess the positive effect that the peace agreement will bring. As Charlotte Streck says:

... This peace process will allow areas of the periphery to have access to money and international cooperation to develop and it is necessary to assist that progress so that it is not done at the expense of the environment, that is why SINFONÍA TRÓPICO will continue touring the country of regions and contributing its grain of art.

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Photographs by Martin Meyer
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