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.
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.