Peinados de libertad

Buenaventura, Colombia

La playita

Buenaventura is a city located by the Cauca valley and is considered the gateway of the Colombian Pacific. It is estimated that over 60% of the country´s economy enters and leaves through its port, which is why it tries to be controlled by criminal gangs. Many of these violent groups were formed following the demobilization of the militiaman forces between 2002 and 2006.

Near the port there is a very humble area called La Playita. Most of its population are Afro-Colombians, who continue to keep alive the traditions of the Naya River from which they come from. Walking on this area is a constant look back to its origins: soil roads crowded with animals, wooden houses build with pile dwellings on water, boats and canoes to fish, palms, coconuts and children playing. A great contrast to the urban landscape of other streets of the city.

A struggle against violence

The violence has left an invisible footprint difficult to wash out. Over the past few years, criminal gangs have terrorized neighbors with «pique» houses in which people were quartered in daylight. The situation became so unbearable that the neighbors began to organize to expel the violent groups and build a better Buenaventura.

The residents of the “Espacio Humanitario Puente Nayero” are the first civil association that managed to expel the paramilitaries from their streets, on April 13th, 2013.

Hair language

The most inspiring element for us was the meaning of women’s hairstyle. The ability to create a language of its own that beyond the aesthetic allows people to send coded messages to those who understand it. They tell us how the designs of braids made in slavery times were actually maps that indicated the escape routes to freedom. They also teated us how some of them have subsequently served to show aspects of daily life, representing a legacy of culture, resistance and identity that is strengthened day after day.

Our own dialogue

Together with the neighbors, we reflect on the most important concepts that make Puente Nayero a unique community in the world. Values such as temperance, freedom, fight or union, are the present basis to build a solid future. And they are the ones we represent through shapes and colors extracted from their hairstyles, creating a new code to communicate.

Information and credits
  • This project was carried out in September 2016, by the hand of the Sueño Pacífico organization
  • Plastic water-based paint on different surfaces
  • The project was promoted by the Entrepazos Foundation, Fundescodes Foundation and Orbis Pintuco Foundation
  • Thanks Juli, Fanny, Michelle, Juan David, Camila and Lore for putting so much effort and affection to Sueño Pacífico
  • Thank you Zule, Susana, Júnior, Luis and Nei for being our home in Puente Nayero and for teaching us so much
  • Thanks to Lu Yorlano and Ban Pesk Board for adding their great talent to the work
  • Thanks to Giulio Cirri and Matti for being such an amazing professional in front and behind the cameras
  • Infinite thanks to all the community of La Playita for being a worldwide example of neighborhood organization to build a present and a better future
  • Boa Team: Diego Vicente
  • Support at the studio:
  • Photos by Boa Mistura and the one and only Giulio Cirri
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