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Teranga / Hospitality.
December 2015.
Concept: Paula V. Álvarez.
Artistic Lightning Intervención in San Jerónimo suburban quarter, as part of Quarter Lights, a cultural initiatiative curated by Nomad Garden and comissioned by the Instituto de Cultura y las Artes of the Municipality of Seville.
Team: Vibok Works (coordination), Sebastián de Alba (structure), Voluntarias Activas (assembly), Sergio Vázquez (narrator).
Colaborators: Asociación Crisol Desarrollo Personal San Jerónimo; Comunidad africana de San Jerónimo; Sevilla Acoge; Fundación Cepaim; Asociación Ayúdanos a Ayudar San Jerónimo; Asociación de Mujeres Nuevas Ilusiones; Asociación Juvenil Albero; Asociación Ornitológica Monasterio de San Jerónimo; Ampa del Colegio Buenavista; Asociación contra la drogadicción Por un Futuro de Esperanza; Asociación de vecinos El Empalme.
Photographic Credits: Vibok Works, "Asociación Desarrollo Personal Crisol and Oscar Romero.
COAS 2016 Award in the category of Urban Space Design and Landscape Architecture". Selected Work in the International Landscape Award Rosa Barba 2016, catalogued by the Arquia Próxima cultural program of the Fundación Arquia, 2016.
Teranga celebrates and makes visible the unsuspected cultural and supportive tissue that nurtures San Jeronimo suburban quarter, one of the most disadvantaged areas of Seville.

Located on the outskirts of Seville, San Jerónimo is a neighborhood with problems of spatial segregation in which diverse disadvantaged ethnic minorities are concentrated. These communities have created networks of solidarity and mutual support, in addition to numerous existing solidarity associations (clothing, medicines and food, prevention of youth drug addiction and gender-based violence, social reintegration of former convicts, etc.). These groups collaborate with each other, creating a network of relationships that redraw the spaces of sociability and coexistence of the neighborhood beyond the places that urban planning anticipates and manages. To refer to this reality, I borrowed the word "teranga" from the Senegalese community, which means "hospitality" but also "community" and "support ties".

Teranga was carried out in collaboration with 13 groups, which include, as one more, the Senegalese community. In a day of coexistence, the premises of the associations around the civic center of the neighborhood opened in unison its doors to the city, showing the activity that they develop daily. They organized guided tours, an intercultural gymkhana, a Senegalese meal, workshops for children, a collective mural, stories and games of the world, among other activities that connected the streets and the interior of their premises.

At dusk, the lightened doors of these spaces slowly emerged in the dark, out of anonymity. Each doors refers to the others, composing a larger scale and helping us to understand the magnitude of the rich socio-cultural landscape of San Jeronimo as we walk through the streets. The lightning of doors and the sharing of spaces drawed a new picture of the place in the collective imagination of the neighborhood, being also an incentive to strengthen partnerships between groups.

Find out more about Teranga here.

Teranga was part of "Quarter Lights", an initiative curated by Nomad Garden within the Atypical Christmas program promoted by the Institute of Culture and Arts of Seville. Its goal was to create a laboratory aimed at creatively illuminate urban places that are taken care of and cultivated by civic groups. Quarter Lights seeks to celebrate the exceptional nature of these urban situations and to recognize the labor of the groups that manage them; to spread its value to other citizens; to encourage creative regeneration of the environment and engage people in it; to enhance the joyful and festive side of the city. San Jerónimo was one of 6 selected situations where neighbors watch, in a courageous and humble way, for the prosperity of nature and culture.

A constant concern for me when working in a disadvantaged neighborhood, was to intervene in the cultural ecosystem through which the images circulated, as well as the urban ecosystem of the neighborhood in which the practices of the collaborating associations unfold. My desire was to avoid the erotization of poverty and the marginal, as well as the instrumentalization of artistic action to legitimize holes in urban policies, thus betraying the struggles of the people who were part of the proyect. In order to face this ethical-aesthetic challenge, the design of the lighting - fine threads of light framing the doors of a number of associations- seeks to create an antidote against these possibilities, by forcing to incorporate, with brutal honesty, the reality of the place in the broadcasted images, without masking its crudeness. The lit and closed doors in lonely streets seek to convey the dignity of the civic empowerment that I found in the place, along with a certain feeling of abandonment that its people express. Beauty will not be found in the "enlightened object"; it arises in the aesthetic experience of the passers-by who by walking pass the neighborhood recomposes a complex reality through fragments in contradiction.

Explore the six interventions of Quarter Lights in the site of the project.