When Spanish photographer and artist Victor Enrich visited Rafael Uribe in Colombia, an urban area a few miles south of Bogotá, he was struck by how the struggling city was lively, yet full of contradictions (h/t Dezeen). The result of mismanaged migration patterns in the mid-20th century, the area now lacks an identity, with the younger generations focusing more on the mainstream Bogotan culture than their own heritage.
Enrich’s photography project titled “Rafael Uribe Uribe Existe,” which superimposes New York’s Guggenheim museum over the landscape of the Colombian city, highlights the “contrast between North and South American imagination.” In doing so, he hopes to show how international cities with a high quality of life are those that protect their different communities instead of allowing them to vanish.
Named after a Colombian liberal leader from the turn of the 20th century, Rafael Uribe Uribe is an “urban conglomerate spread over plains and hill” adjacent to an Andes range. This location makes the air of better quality than the surrounding areas, which attracted a “massive and uncontrolled migration of a Colombian post-rural social stratum” in the mid-20th century. With a complete lack of management from the government, people who had lived in the small villages for centuries were forced to flee, as the corrupt army, extreme right-wing paramilitary, and left-wing guerrillas all wanted to take control of drug trades.
The result is that the traditions and cultures from these villages are being lost, and the landscape is now a mix of ramshackle houses and industrial structures. Enrich explains his thoughts:
This situation makes the place act as a sort of unwanted and indefinite stopover for many people. It is a reality that doesn’t help in the maintenance of identity, and is the most heartbreaking to me. Once this transitional movement towards the western world is over, the already threatened identity of the people of Rafael Uribe Uribe, and all its nuances, will be lost forever.
He hopes his photos series will encourage the younger generations to reconnect with their heritage and serve as a model for other struggling Latin American cities.
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All photos via Victor Enrich
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