Jaír F. Coll

Documentary photographer
   
B-Migrant - for NPR
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
B-Migrant - for NPR
Copyright Jaír F. Coll 2023
Updated Oct 2022
Location Colombia
Topics Culture, Culture stories, Documentary, Immigration, Journalism, Photography, Portraiture
Visual story published in NPR Picture Show section.

Any person who engages in break dancing or breaking is known as a b-boy or b-girl. In this on-going visual project, they are b-migrants, a play-on-words I invented to refer to Venezuelan migrants who dedicate themselves to this dance founded in the early 70's in the Bronx of New York by the Afro and Puerto Rican population.

Usually, the Venezuelan migration crisis is associated with a border crossing and the search for better economic opportunities, but this is a superficial reading of a situation that has been ongoing since 2016. Each of the 2.5 million refugees from the neighboring country has a personal and intimate reason that pushed them to undertake their journey.
 
In the case of breaking artists, there are two reasons. First, to become the best in the world, which forces them to expand their way of understanding and making art from the experiences learned abroad. And second, to create a community of Venezuelan migrants around breaking as a way to face the severity of the exodus.

I started this project in December 2021 in Cali, and then in Bogotá and Medellín, cities where the migrants have been able to demonstrate that their talent is equal or sometimes above the Colombian one; for example, having a Venezuelan crew -Flava and Spice- become champion for the first time in the 25 years of Hip Hop Festival in Bogota.
 
B-Migrant is an on-going project that explores the different journeys within the migratory journey of Venezuelans engaged in breaking. That is, the existential, corporal and transcultural journeys of young people who decided to leave their country "for art".
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B-Migrant - for NPR by Jaír F. Coll
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