Festival in San José del Guaviare

The third SINFONÍA TRÓPICO Festival in Colombia was held from May 5 to 17, 2015 in San José del Guaviare. The artistic-environmental activities focused on demonstrating the value, richness and beauty of tropical forests and their role in shaping the identity of the people living in the Colombian Amazon through photography, documentary film and performance.

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Our partner Ambulante Colombia, with the support of Ambulante Más Allá (Mexico), conducted an intensive workshop in which they trained 15 young people from San José del Guaviare about the various artistic creations within the audiovisual production process: direction, photography, audio and postproduction. As a result of the active participation of young people and filmmakers, three short documentaries - La Veda, Don Flaviano and Corazón del Guaviare - were produced. The documentaries portray the complex environmental situation of rivers and water resources, as well as the role of young people in decisions towards a sustainable future in the region of Guaviare.

The documentarist Emiliano Altuna led the process from the field of direction, Camilo Pachón, was in charge of the photography, Andrés Silva of the capture and audio editing, Juliana Rodríguez in the production and Mónica Bustamante in the postproduction. Ambulante - documentaries tour - aims to promote the documentary film in areas where the dissemination of these productions is rare. In Guaviare, a screening of documentaries related to the theme of the environment was carried out in the El Refugio indigenous reservation.


The environmental photographer Mateo Pérez, a photography teacher from the Faculty of Arts of the Javeriana University of Bogotá, worked with a group of 12 young people on different aspects of analogue photography. During the workshop they created the photographic paper of organic fibre -fique-, they built a camera and a dark room, developed their impressions and made several photographic excursions in the tropical forest and parks next to it.

The photographs were taken at the Ñupana Natural Reserve, 30 minutes from San José del Guaviare and were exhibited at the Ecosistemas y Tensión exhibition. In them, the biodiversity of the region is portrayed in an innovatively way, experimenting with light and montage. "We wanted to show with this exhibition that the Guaviare is not only guerrilla or paramilitary, but biodiversity," said Brayan Camilo Serna, workshop participant.

"Until Wednesday, I did not believe that a light would come in through a hole and an image would come out," said Dúmar Magón, a participant of the workshop.


In the drawing workshop as a basis for the realization of the Diversity Mural, the different ways of drawing thoughts and sensations were explored -with the opposite hand, with closed eyes, looking at the partner without looking at the paper-, in order to explore the diversity of the look and the translation of the drawing to discover the own gesture and to be able to capture it in the mural.

The young people of Family Acun Cru, the Atempo Collective and the police volunteers worked together in the realization of the Mural of Diversity. Music and hip hop singers entertained the activity. The result was a gift in the public space of 20 meters long, which was completed after a full day of work, with great satisfaction, that left a special bond between the participants.

Performance "18,992 Trees felled today in the Guaviare"

The young artists of the Colectivo Atempo found an impressive way to raise awareness of the daily deforestation that is experienced in the Guaviare (one of the departments with the highest rate of deforestation in the Amazon).

On May 14, for 16 consecutive hours, they counted and located 18,992 small pieces of wood (sticks) in the plaza in front of the mayor's office, which represented a stick for each tree that fell in the Department of Guaviare that day. Although the initial idea was to reach 22,300 sticks, which are the number of trees of all the species affected by fumigation and deforestation in the northern Guaviare, this figure was not achieved due to the amount of time required, but precisely that was part of the performance result.

The performance has the purpose of removing the abstract meaning of the number and landing it on the speed with which it is being deforested. Each wooden stick on the floor represented a unit that, adding up, made up the total number 22,300 (written is not so scandalous).

18,992 wooden sticks were placed by four elegant people, accommodating them obsessively for 16 hours, counting one by one. This immediately generated comments and questions.

The long-term actions are forceful, the physical effort strongly reinforces any metaphor. Each visitor received with his due solemnity the "act of protest" that the Atempo Collective manifested against deforestation and fumigation. The dimension of performance exceeded expectations. The visual result was respected days after it was finished. The collaboration of a large number of people including policemen, the mayor and the entire team of SINFONÍA TRÓPICO, gave the necessary impulse to exceed the limit. The action was able to show how unprecedented the speed of deforestation in the Amazon can be, even in a day that could not be covered.


On May 17, 2015, the closing ceremony took place in San José del Guaviare. A recognition was given to the work of all the young people who participated in the workshops, the documentaries made with Ambulante Más Allá were screened and finally a show with music, dance and compositions dedicated to indigenous peoples, biodiversity and the environment was enjoyed with texts by the young rapper Gama of San José del Guaviare and Bogota's MASILVA, who shared the stage with talented local musicians.

We are very grateful to the people of Guaviare, particularly to the mayor of San José de Guaviare, Geovanny Gómez Criales, and our partner Warner Valencia Sánchez, and the more than 40 participants of our workshops. Thank you very much for working with us - we assure you that we felt in love with Guaviare and we will return! - Charlotte Streck and Lillevan

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