Sergio from Bogota, Colombia

Sergio from Bogota, Colombia

It was great being in Bogota last week. I had an absolutely great time in the company of great people who I exchanged ideas with and created great synergy. One of them was Sergio who was my host. 

Sergio lives in a neighborhood called Chapinero, located north of the city centre. Chapinero seems to be another area, like in many big capitalist cities which is slowly being gentrified. Sergio tells me that businesses have gradually started to move into the area. Tall apartment blocks are being developed and there has been a shift of faces moving in and out.

He grew up in the neighborhood and describes it as a cool place to live. It’s minutes away from the city centre, in fact,  I walked it to the centre and back every day in a matter of minutes so it’s pretty close indeed.

On one of the busy avenues that runs near his house you can still see a lot of strip clubs, though they are kind of hotel type places. I did not feel a hostile environment as I would probably feel in Mexico City in certain areas.

Sergio is an artists who has a political approach to his work though my understanding on the way he feels that change must be made is that too many political messages in an art piece can just confront people to the point of rejecting it. Instead, he thinks that in order to engage people with the real issues and invite them to look at the world from a different vantage point, we need to organize activities like parties. Parties with a political stance though not directly implicit. Kind of like subliminal messages that stick in peoples minds so that they reflect on such ideas when they step away in solitude.

Sergio runs a independent clothes company called Volketa which makes all sorts of items like shirts, jumpers, posters etc… The designs are kind of graffiti orientated.

As we chatted about graffiti he shared an experience he once encountered in Ecatepec, Mexico a few years back. 

Him and some guys wanted to paint some freight trains ( cargo trains that run to the USA and Canada) so they travelled to the outskirts of Mexico City until they arrived in Ecatepec. As they approached the tracks, they notice some unfinished pieces on some trains ( pieces refers to graffiti names ). 

They did not think twice and decided to get going. As they were filling in their pieces , two blokes approached them. Before Sergio could say hi to them, one of the guys smashed a rock in his head and started to beat the crap out of him. 

Whilst he was being severely punched in the face and body, he thought that was the end of life. When the guys left and stripped him off of his belongings, his mates ran back to assist him and take him straight to the nearest hospital.

His head had been cracked open and the whole thing was no joke at all. He tells me that when they approached the hospital he noticed many women waiting to be seen for injuries. The whole experience was dreadful.

I told Sergio that Ecatepec is a terrible place unfortunately, where for instance women are victims of abuse on a daily basis. It has actually turned more violent for women now than Ciudad Juarez was back in the 90’s to 2000’s, at least that is what the statistics indicate.

I thanked Sergio for his hospitality and wished him and his girlfriend the best of luck with their future plans. I also hope to see them again to keep talking about real issues that I am sure we will change in time… 

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