I came to Bogota for treatment because of some health issues, but what really motivated me the most was ridding myself of the ties that I grew up with in el Valle... there, where I grew up with machista and misogynistic thinking, which I also value because now I live it from both sides, which gives rise to many reflections on learning.
Since I decided to confront the fact that I had fallen in love with a girl, despite having had heterosexual partners, this road has not been easy and acting with my heart has given me a lot of strength.
I am a music student and very recently I started to come to terms with my true sexual orientation after trying to escape it for a long time. Although within the arts environment at university it is less of an issue to come and in general there is acceptance regarding the subject, for me it was exceedingly difficult to accept myself for what I was feeling, because in my family sexual diversity is taboo and it is wrong, it is simply not welcome. I myself was not capable of accepting my orientation, and even less capable of questioning myself about it, on the contrary, my fears and insecurities were my refuge and I lived in permanent silence fuelled by that fear of what people would say, which is so destructive it is a prison. My mind was full of negative thoughts that ruled me and stole my desire to stay here. My art didn’t flow, I didn’t want to make music, I didn’t see any future for myself, I couldn’t stand myself.
With nowhere to escape from the external judgments of society and my own judgements, I used the only thing I had to hand to drain everything that made me feel choked and depressed: the music I was making back then. I started to feel that everything I interpreted had been written for me, for that specific moment in my life and without making any conscious decision, I broke down. I felt my music so powerfully that it pulled me along and I couldn’t stop crying. I cried out my works so loud that, without noticing it, I broke that noisy and scorching silence. And I cried again. I was healing but could only feel the pain. After that troubled moment I felt better, not only because I no longer lived trapped in sadness, but because music began to bring me closer to people linked to it, to my teachers and fellow musicians who became friends along the way and listeners to my deepest fears and insecurities. These people helped me switch off the noise of loneliness and transform it into voices of encouragement, love and understanding.
If it had not been for the sensitivity that lived within them and for the music that I discovered within myself, I have no idea what would have become of me, because thanks to that I purged my pain and survived my grief; because, in addition to giving myself the necessary strength to accept myself as I am, it made me more human to recognize and embrace the range of diversity displayed in the other.
Echoes of Hope
May - October 2020.
Laboratorio Creativo Orfeo, in collaboration with CAIDSG Sebastián Romero (LGBTIQ+ community and care centre in Bogota), recently organised an art initiative with singing took centre stage in a bid to mitigate psychosocial impacts on the LGBTQI+ community. Emotional regulation is important for this population, because we are affected by the isolation and upheaval that COVID-19 caused during 2020. The potential for generating psychological impact through singing is well known. We therefore designed a singing and vocal projection workshop consisting in 8 tutorials, which were uploaded to social networks for all audiences. A group of 30 people from the LGBTI community, young people, adults and women from the town of Teusaquillo were invited.
This group took part in a semi-virtual phase of singing sessions that were carried-out by Zoom, as well as in the garden and various rooms, Triangulo Negro, Fireplace and Soy Capaz, of the LGBTI hub LA CASA LGBTI in Teusaquillo. The process culminated in a flash mob and a four-hour artistic performance in local public spaces: Parque la Esmeralda, Parque El Brasil, Parkway and Plaza de la Democracia. These were disseminated via the networks of LGBTI organizations in Bogota and Laboratorio Creativo Orfeo networks. This transdisciplinary initiative was framed within performance practice, music through choral practice, activism, as well as plastic and visual arts. Ecos de Esperanza (Echoes of Hope), is structured as a performance in flash mob format featuring a vocal performance of the work ‘Hanacpachap cussicuinin’. This was the first polyphonic work composed and published in the New World in the indigenous Quechua language. A hymn to life, to the past and to the present. A song of hope.
Family can be many things: mother, father, children, siblings, cousins, a community, a single mother with her child, a couple of men with cats, a group of friends or a choir. Orfeo is an artistic laboratory led by the transdisciplinary artist Alfonso J. Venegas and choral director Daniel Gonzalez. It is made up of more than 30 diverse people who attend workshops on music, visual arts, performance and discussions on cultural management and creation. This incubator of research and collective creation has been operating since 2018 and articulates transdisciplinary projects that address two fundamental topics in the construction of individuality: decolonization and gender deconstruction
Bad and Queer
Las Malas y La Chiki is an independent music and performance approach created in Bogota in 2019 on the initiative of three performers who discovered a convergence between their needs and interests from the perspective of music and activism.
Our starting point is a shared desire to find ways of responding to the discriminatory attitudes, positions and policies of this country and the Latin American region. We believe that one of the key causes of these discriminations is machismo, male chauvinism, which underpins several exclusions encompassing race, class, gender and politics.
This is why we situate this music creation project where our music, lyrics and our bodies are in drag. We create a platform to make ourselves visible without any direct statements or manifestos regarding our orientations or identities.
We are bad on account of our debauchery and we are mavericks in all our creative actions. We are also queer and genderless; we create degenerate music with outcast lyrics.
From this genderless position we are united, and we begin to inhabit unassigned gaps and spaces. We set out from various appearances in LGBT spaces, but we are expanding our margins because the genuine and beloved presence of our divine flamboyance and our queerness has to be found in those circuits where machismo and classism prevail. We target spaces legitimised for heteronormative people with blunt and clear words that, according to them, don’t fit in. We also erode the legitimised spaces of gay capitalism. Our display is not here to ‘Épater la bourgeoisie’, this class who is shocked and horrified only to then falls in love with its silicon and silicone goddesses is not our target. We don’t allow ourselves to be standardized by their merchandise labels.
We will stand with all the queers of the world. Conquer the place we kuiras, malucas, raras, queers deserve. With our expressions and montages we have promoted drag visibility as a way of expressing freedom and the right to adopt extravagant identities and clothing; to inhabit urban and cultural spaces freely, joyously and carefree. Our performances are intended to grow the advocacy scope of the message of diversity and equality, since, without ceasing to be ‘queens’ or ‘our usual selves’, we address people from a place of aesthetics and politics, so they remember the importance of celebrating differences as part of building a society. We are an unpolished presence in mass and social media, stage and music circuits and academia. We have crashed artistic and festive platforms to spread equality. The bad and the queer are outside labels, identity and gender. Beyond gender is the presence, transvestite in many ways. We cannot let our guard down when it comes to defending the rights of all sectors of the population.
So, if you want to find us, we are not on the soles of your shoes or where you will find drag ass. No, we are the dagger that awaits your ears to pierce them without warning at each unsuspecting movement of your head.
See you later bitches!