The Spirit of The Colombian Pacific
It took all of mankind to lay the foundations for the globally interconnected society we live in today: this includes worldwide access to information, technology and goods. Whilst this unprecedented 'connectedness' has brought economic opportunity to millions, it comes at a price - the loss of diversity to local culture. This is particularly apparent amongst smaller, traditional communities on the cusp of modernisation. Understanding the trade-off between integration and 'cultural dilution' can, in the delicate process of globalisation, create the conditions for mutual understanding, dialogue and peace.
My project is to research the social and cultural changes to life on the Colombian Pacific Coast. Over the last 60 years, this previously untouched region has been influenced by the arrival of new industries: these include; mining, forestry, tourism and the cultivation of coca. As a result, the indigenous populations that inhabit this coastline are having to adapt.
My plan is to spend 6 weeks walking the 300km stretch from Buenaventura in El Choco to Nuquí in Valle del Cauca. During this time, I will compile a series of ‘photo stories’ that capture the process of change. This journey is also a social investigation; to develop solutions that could be used to help protect the cultural identity of the Embera, Waunan, Awa and other indigenous populations that inhabit the Colombian pacific coast. These solutions will be compiled into a report.
The area of interest is extremely remote; there are no roads or landing strips to these communities - everything must be covered by foot.