SINFONÍA TRÓPICO  created two artistic performances in Mitú, working with young people and local artists from August to November 2019

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Mitú is the capital of the department of Vaupés, in the Yeral language ‘Mitú’ is the name of a critically endangered bird (the Alagoas Curassow) which represents the Colombian Amazon.

Vaupés is one of the best-preserved tropical rainforest areas in the Amazon, and has an enormous cultural and natural wealth. Of the 44,000 inhabitants of Vaupés, 90% live in the municipality of Mitú, 85% are members of the eastern Tukano linguistic family, and the remaining 15% are mestizos, whites and Afro-Colombians. 44% of the total population is under 18 years of age, and SINFONÍA TRÓPICO focused on working with this group.

The Vaupés landscape is characterized by the transition of the savannahs of the Orinoquia to the dense rainforests of the Amazon, which puts this department at high risk of deforestation. From 1850 until 1970 Vaupés experienced the rubber bonanza, which paved the way for other booms, such as the exploitation of exotic species, gold and illicit crops. The increasing deforestation and violence affected the natural ecosystems and consequently, the cultural, spiritual, mental, physical, and social structure of those who live in the territory.

The isolation and historical lack of institutional presence, conflicts over landuse and overlapping territorial management (Amazon Forest Reserve Zone,National Natural Parks, Indigenous Reserves, municipalities) have caused many issues, e.g. the increase of illicit farming, road construction, increasing legal and illegal mining, the processes of colonization, deforestation and the loss of biodiversity.

One of the most sadly remembered events is the FARC's seizure of Mitú in 1998. This attack left irreparable human losses and profound emotional consequences for its inhabitants.

Diversity Mural

SINFONÍATRÓPICO celebrates the rich biodiversity of the territory by supporting the development of two creative processes addressed at young people and trainee teachers from different ethnic groups (the Cubeo, Bará, Piratapuyo, Desano, Tatuyo and Guanano amongst others).

The two processes were “Cuerpos de Agua (Water Bodies)” led by Bayron Orrego and “Cuerpos Reforestados (Reforested Bodies)” led by Andrés Pineda. These performances present reflections and experiences of the human coexistence with the Amazonian forest through scientific and artistic investigation, while recognizing the diversity of languages and cultures in the area.

"Cuerpos de Agua" (Water Bodies): A research/creation process with a group of young trainee teachers at the ENOSIMAR School, belonging to different ethnic groups in the department, self-named New Multicultural Generation (NUGEM). In this process socio-environmental problems surrounding the wetland contamination and the relationship with the socio-cultural and territorial structure are explored artistically.

Water Bodies process exhibition - Photography Workshop

Cuerpos de Agua aims to make these problems visible and to provide pedagogical, investigative and creative tools for teaching exercises and for community leadership. The group focused on illuminating the meanings of synergies between nature and culture, through conceptual and normative elements on the care and sustainability of different ecosystems and practices and concepts of the indigenous traditions.

Wetlands Healing Session - Water Bodies
In the Amazonian oral tradition, the water of rivers, streams, lagoons, reservoirs or wetlands was created by the gods for the maintenance and reproduction of life on earth. Water is personified, it breathes, has a heart and greetings.Like the dancing body, it expresses itself in movements to bring joy and create life in its wake. We are people of water, we are here for the care of life. The territory we call Mitú today is surrounded by wetlands. It is built on them.The flow of its waters has been interrupted. The constructions of houses, roads and parks have disconnected the complex, constant flow of an interconnected system. Communication has broken down. Our territory-body has become contaminated. It is the same flow of water running through all the bodies. The owners of the waters, spirits of the jungle, are waiting for us to pay back the damage caused. It is a natural law. NUGEM
Water Bodies Process Exhibition

Healing Act - Water Bodies

Bayron Orrego explains:

In the municipality of Mitú there are about 16 wetlands that take their names from the neighborhoods through which their waters flow. These wetlands are not independent bodies of water, but constitute a water complex that, together with some of the municipality's pipes, make up the so-called Mitú wetland system. There are multiple benefits of these wetlands, they are necessary for the presence of the unique fauna and flora within these ecosystems, thus enhancing the existing biodiversity. These water bodies have suffered ever since people settled in the area, forming an environmental imbalance and causing a strong impact on the ecosystem. It is for this reason that the activities developed in each of the Cuerpos de Agua sessions are aimed at exploring the relationship between culture and nature from different artistic perspectives and local and traditional knowledge, allowing personal and collective reflection on this and other socio-environmental issues. 

The Cuerpos de Agua exhibition opened at the Amazon Development Corporation on 19th November 2019, and the Cuerpos de Agua Healing Act was held from Caño Duende to the Central Park on 21st November 2019.

Participants: Jacob López Ramírez, Luis Hernán Londoño, Esaú López Ramírez, Edwin Galvis, Leidy Mejía, Martha Liliana Mejía, Gloria Eugenia Bolívar, Walter Valencia, Lucy Rodríguez, Juan Rodolfo Ramírez, Diego Felipe Prada, Caled Gómez, Alexis Hernández Araujo, Yuli Andrea Rubio Cruz.

Healing Act - Water Bodies

If we reforest the culture, we conserve the jungle

“Cuerpos Reforestados" (Reforested Bodies): A body laboratory with emphasis on composition of contemporary dance, led by Andrés Pineda, participating with 15 young people. The theme of deforestation in Vaupés is approached from two perspectives. On the one hand we have the jungle and mountains, where the territory’s fauna, flora, water sources and inhabitants are affected by the massive destruction of the natural environment. On the other hand there is the cultural deforestation in which the fundamental elements that constitute us as integral human beings are underestimated and destroyed, such as emotions, roots, the construction of identity itself, the traditional practices of culture, freedom and autonomy in education.

The body laboratory simultaneously addressed different technical elements of contemporary dance, especially composition techniques for dance creation, and the technical and theoretical elements necessary for environmental, cultural and physical deforestation. With these elements, the collective action “El Retorno del Güio” was performed - based on the myth of the Amazonian Güio -with more than 400 students from the ENOSIMAR School who joined the process of Cuerpos Reforestados. The act of reforesting the culture culminated in the Maloka IPANORÉ.  The creation and socialization of this great scenic performance as a ritual, directed by the 15 participants of the laboratory, sought reflection and awareness on the importance of strengthening culture in order to conserve the environment.

Maloka Ipanoré

Participants: Jennifer Marcial Folio, Ruth Jaidi Jaramillo, Vania Kaylo Valencia, Edwin López Correa, Gerley López Acevedo, Fredy Aguilar, Naren Daritza Hernández, Francisca Rodríguez, Maria Shirlene Osorio Villa, Angie Dayana Rodríguez, María Camila Mejía, Emperatriz Rodríguez, María Fernanda Jaramillo, Yiner Julián Bermúdez, Andrés Felipe Prado Gómez, María Esperanza Gómez, Jhojan Moreno Dasilva.

Community Murals with Colectivo Atempo
During these months the participants also collectively painted the Mural of Water Bodies, the Mural of Reforested Bodies and the Mural of Diversity guided by Colectivo Atempo.

Water Bodies Mural
Reforested Bodies Mural

“Cuerpos de Agua" (Water Bodies) and “Cuerpos Reforestados" (Reforested Bodies) invited special guests to nurture and complement the discussions and processes, establishing interdisciplinary dialogues for different points of view, experiences and languages.  These guests include: Luis Fernando Jaramillo(SINCHI), Miliciades Borrero (Historian of Mitú), Cecilia Uribe (expert of the Libertad community of the Siriana ethnic group), Enrique Llanos (Cubeo expert), Mateo Pérez (photographer), Fernando Pertuz (artist), and the artists of the Colectivo Atempo. Together they created murals, analog photography, performance, dance and creative, participatory research in an environment of reflection on jungle, water, cultural reforestation to restore territory, diversity and socio-cultural richness.

Participants "Reforested Bodies" and "Water Bodies"

On November 21 the activities culminated in a dinner at the house of culture of Mitú. Here the participants talked about their experiences, the SINFONÍA TRÓPICO diplomas were handed out, and we were delighted with the gastronomy of the region thanks to the chefs Lady and Herminia, and the support of Luis Fernando Jaramillo from SINCHI.

The amazonian recipes can be found here.

Thank You Mitú!

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