C&AL: What was your motivation for conceiving a show on African cinema in Colombia?
Salym Fayad: The Muestra Itinerante de Cine Africano (African Traveling Film Festival), MUICA, emerged from a variety of aspects and from my own experience of living and working in South Africa and other African countries. One was an aesthetic motivation: many artistic expressions of the African continent are challenging the labels of traditional genres. Another motivation was to try to get a bit closer to one another through this “other south”. It is not in vain that the organization behind MUICA is called Fundación Otro Sur. Colombia has a great deal in common with this other global south; at a social, cultural, and even historical level. Although the contexts are different within each country of the African continent, some of them also derive from a similar colonial history. As in Colombia, certain African countries share a history of a traumatic or armed conflict.
The idea is to connect countries through cultural dialogue; to come closer to one another and to understand what cultural projects exist in the different places. There is also a historical motivation as well as a connection at the racial level, although I don’t much like using that word. In Colombia there is a very large population of African descent and yet, we know very little about contemporary African culture.
C&AL: In your opinion, which is the importance of MUICA in the country?
SF: MUICA began as an experiment, in Colombia there was no such platform. It is not the first time that African cinema was shown in Colombia, but it had never been done on this scale. It was extremely gratifying to see how people from all backgrounds and origins share an interest in cinema, and the reaction from people of African descent in particular was very positive.
Muica 2019. Courtesy of Otro Sur / MUICA