Collectivo Artístico y Cultural Abya-Yala (Abya-Yala Cultural and Artistic Collective, CACAY) is a group of men and women dedicated to artistic creation as a peacebuilding tool for inner-city neighbourhoods. The main message CACAY seeks to spread through their trainings and stagings is its members’ potential for being their agents of change in their own lives and that of their communities.
The group was created in January 2011 as an environment for investigating and creating a language of dance that will foster an exchange with the different local communities within Bogota. The collective works on community building through dance, theatre, circus arts and audio-visual production with children and youth from the following neighbourhoods: Las Cruces, Atanasio, Girardot, Lourdes, Los Laches, La Peña, El Triunfo, Belén y Egipto. These neighbourhoods are historically related with youth violence because of the lack of opportunities in these areas.
At the moment, the Abya-Yala school has three sites: the contemporary dance school for youth, the folkloric dance school for women and the “comparsa” (parade) school. In addition to these schools, the group works on the creation of dance shows aimed at reclaiming the land, peacebuilding and changing behaviour and practices that lead to inequalities, exclusion and violence. These shows –“Mujeres Diversas Construyendo Libertad”, “Entre Bloques”, “¡Victoria, sé valiente!”, “Vendas Extinguidas” y “Contr-hábito” – tackle social issues and create a place to discuss collective memory.
The collective is part of a network of artistic and cultural community organisations in Santa Fe and Las Cruces. This has allowed them to develop wider issues such as land rights, management strategies, human rights, women’s rights and cultural rights. Partners include the Junta de Acción Comunal del barrio las Cruces, local mayor of Santa Fe, the CLACP Santa Fe (Consejo Local de Arte, Cultura y Patrimonio) and the Cultural, Recreation and Sports Secretariat of the District of Arts IDARTES.