The Lavaderos of Fabrica de Loza runs deep within the very arteries of history in downtown Bogota. The numerous families and visitors from adjacent neighborhoods that have gathered around the hidden structure every day, share a deep connection with the water, as they rely on it for survival and sustenance. Years of traditional washing and bathing-like ceremonies passed from generations and the wisdom gained in the process has transformed the place in a kind of eternal story, a story of return and restoration. I first visited the Lavaderos in 2014 with a group of artists running a community townhouse promoting arts, culture, and justice, in the near neighborhood of Belén. I was inspired by the social fabric stretched inside this place, providing its users with safe heaven that in another context or another space of the city would be restricted or even denied. While exploring ideas of the gravity of pain and hope associated with stories of loss and recovery, and the power of water to heal, I feel the liquid state of water in the Lavaderos also compares to the way memory works; continuously moving and changing, running between harmony and balance, washing stains away. With this work, I’m trying to get a sense of the impact of urban infrastructural interventions including the domestication of rivers for water supply, in a rift between belonging and alienation, public and private. And a community’s wish to resist and stay connected, honoring practices they have preserved for over half a century.
Also by Sebastián Zuleta Ríos —
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