Paint Up Buenaventura is an artistic and social project that aims at brightening the urban landscape of Buenaventura, the main port of Colombia. By enhancing the physical environment through painting, we are looking to change the image of the city and create an incentive for pedestrians to explore it.
Buenaventura is a city on the Pacific Coast of Colombia, located 150 kilometers from Cali, in the Cauca Valley. The region of Buenaventura is full of beautiful landscapes and natural riches. However, the extraordinary potential of the city has long been overshadowed by the social and security issues related to the existence of illegal armed groups.
We are a group of architects and urbanists originally from Cali, and we feel very committed to making a difference in the region.
Our project is based on two objectives:
1)Increase the feeling of security and comfort in public spaces through aesthetic improvement, by painting murals in 3 iconic places of the city
2)Add life and color to the streets and homes of Buenaventura by painting houses in some of the most deprived neighborhoods
We believe that in order for citizens to identify with their own city, it is necessary to involve them in the process of shaping the urban landscape. That’s why our project puts a lot of emphasis on public participation. We will work closely with the local authorities to set up a participatory process that will allow Buenaventura citizens to have their say in the selection of the public spaces to be intervened. We will also organize a citywide vote in order for residents to choose the murals that will be painted in these public spaces.
The project will be led by two artists who both have experience working in Colombia on projects involving the community.
The French artist JBC will be in charge of creating the murals for public spaces. JBC is a painter, graphic designer and street artist who puts his art at the service of local governments. He likes using vibrant colors and usually works on urban furniture: walls, recycling bins, mails boxes… He has travelled a lot in Latin America and his inspiration is fueled by Latin references. JBC has already worked in Colombia, in the city of Barranquilla, where he painted a wall in memory of a famous Colombian socialist, with the collaboration of local residents.
JBC will collaborate with local artists to design a series of proposals for citizens to choose from. Residents will then be able to vote for their favorite mural via an internet platform, or in person in determined polling places.
The second artist who will take part in the project is the Colombian painter Vicky Fadul, who has more than ten years of experience teaching her methods to poor communities around the world. Through her project “La Casa Pintada” (The Painted House), she has transformed more than 40 villages by painting the doors, facades, windows and pillars with creative designs and beautiful colors. Vicky Fadul will work in three different neighborhoods among the most stigmatized and disadvantaged areas of the city, and train groups of 20 to 30 people in traditional paint roller techniques. Through a seven-day workshop, the participants will get to create their own designs, learn how to etch them out on rollers and reproduce them on their house. In total, around 100 families will benefit from the initiative. Not only will this process contribute to create a sense of ownership, but it will also build the capacities of the community. In the past, some of the participants have managed to turn their newly acquired skills into a source of income.
Through this project, we intend to use art as a means of transforming the city and boosting the pride and self-esteem of its inhabitants. In a context where 90% of the population is of African descent, we believe that culture can act as a catalyst for development and peace. By providing an opportunity for the community to express their creativity and show it in the public space, we will generate an inspiring environment for walking and develop a sense of belonging. Besides, the participatory approach of the project will contribute to strengthening community links and promote innovative practices that may impulse a change in the culture of policy-making.