Jaír F. Coll

Documentary photographer
   
Black Baby Jesus was born in February
Location: Cali, Colombia
Nationality: Colombia
Biography: Jaír F. Coll (1997) is a colombian visual journalist whose work focuses on culture as a factor of social transformation. His photography, both intimate and colorful, has been exhibited at the Photo Vogue Festival 2021 and was selected in... MORE
Public Story
Black Baby Jesus was born in February
Copyright Jaír F. Coll 2022
Updated Apr 2022
Location Quinamayó
Topics Culture, Culture stories, Documentary, Personal Projects, Photography, Photojournalism, Portraiture, Race, Religion
Summary
An afro-colombian community fight to maintain their roots and cultural identity through a tradition of more than 170 years.
Quinamayó is an Afro-Colombian community located in the south of Valle del Cauca department. In the slave trade period (16th century-1851), their ancestors were not allowed to keep any cultural expressions. Many traditions had to be adapted as a way of expressing dignity and resistance.

So for Christmas, they transformed the celebration, which takes place 45 days after the traditional date of the birth of Jesus, the time it took Virgin Mary to rest after she gave birth. Quinamayó celebrates Christmas in mid-February as a form of African descendants’ cultural resistance. It is a festivity that still persists today in which the children dress up as biblical characters, the matronas -women leaders- wear their traditional dresses and people dance the juga, an autochthonous rhythm of Quinamayó.

I started this photography project in 2019, but at that time I documented only the parties. That's why my main goal is focusing in how Quinamayó conceives spirituality in everyday life.

I believe this story is important at this time, because Colombia a racist country. We grew up under the idea of "improving the race", as if Afros were a population that had to be fixed. And today, racism manifests in discriminatory remarks in the street or on social media. The inhabitants of Quinamayó fight against that by taking pride in their roots, as well as by manifesting a syncretism that invites us to reflect on our racial and cultural diversity in Colombia.

Also by Jaír F. Coll —

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Snapshots of resistence

Jaír F. Coll / Cali
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Samara, a Zika daughter

Jaír F. Coll / Colombia
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