Arcoíris en el asfalto San Juan de Pasto 2017. Foto por : Isis Madroñero.

Colors divide and blur into chalk dust. Hands portray beams as the dance to the joyful beat of people’s bodies. The music and the festivities smother the air with happiness. Rainbows extend and twist to recreate figures and fantasies of kids, youngsters and men alike, who gather on the 28th of December to celebrate the Feast of the Holy Innocents.

December 28th used to be full of activities and pranks called ‘inocentadas’, which were a satire of gullibility and foster the use of laughter as a festive custom for the inhabitants of the Valle de Atriz (region of the Andes). One of these customs was using water to soak others and give them a big scare.

So, what happened to all the laughter and the celebrations? Were they forgotten and dismissed? On the contrary, we’ve achieved a state of awareness where we’ve understood that laughter and fun aren’t necessarily linked to wasting water; from this we gather that ‘Arcoíris en el Asfalto’ is probably one of the most aware representations of cultural displays, in which youthful and childish laughter and vigor strongly reflect themselves in Nariño’s people. The pavement takes the form of memories and strengthens the artistic and festive spirit of the populous.

Arcoíris en el Asfalto San Juan de Pasto. Foto por : Isis Madroñero.

Javier Vallejo Díaz explains that “In the vicinities of the ‘Calle El Colorado’ (Colorado street), a cultural project named ‘Arcoíris en el Asfalto’ was set in place since the mid 90’s. It’s creator, Yury René Rosero and the ‘Via Libre’ Cultural Foundation proposed to paint the ‘Colorado’ hill with spontaneous drawings made from chalk or coal, which don’t last long and grasp the concept of what could be called ephemeral art. This seasonal event has gradually extended throughout many
streets in this area, in the proximities of ‘Colorado’.

It is fulfilling to see how environmental awareness has become deeply rooted in the people of Pasto; likewise, it is amazing to witness how our people’s imagination flies throughout sketches and strokes on asphalt. Children, youngsters and whole families gather chalk and search for ideal spots on which they can illustrate their dreams and the worlds they encompass, covering everything from massive visual influences to Andean traditions. ‘Arcoíris en el Asfalto’ is the spitting image of innocence and an indelible memory in Pasto’s traditions.