Follow the link to see the photogallery of the exhibition Cultivo taken by the registry of the Chamber of Commerce of Bogotá


From the Latin cultūra (“cultivation”),
this of cultus (“cultivated”),
and this of colere (“to cultivate”).

Exposition of agreement and community participation of the

The word culture, which is used so much on a daily basis, initially referred to the care of fields and livestock. At the end of the 13th century, it was used to name cultivated land. At the beginning of the 16th century, the term culture came to designate an action: to cultivate the land. In the mid-sixteenth century, it acquired its metaphorical meaning, culture was no longer the result of cultivating the land, but symbolized the action of cultivating some intellectual faculty, cultivating knowledge, cultivating the spirit.
If we consider for a moment the development of the concept of culture, and especially the fertile metaphor that, since the Enlightenment (from the end of the 17th century), makes us rational and civilized beings, it is evident that we need to go deeper into what makes us “cultured” or “uneducated” today. Taking culture back to its etymological roots allows us to think about what is cultivated and how we affect our cultivated land and the care of the fields, because that is so physical and earthly, which in the end is reflected in that cultivation of the spirit that we assume, from the Age of Enlightenment, fights ignorance and tyranny to build a better world for society.
CULTIVO, as an example of culture, aims to be a seedbed of social and aesthetic actions that respond to the challenges that we, as a collectivity, face today: not only the shortage of food and the imminent deterioration of our planet, but also the concern for our food sovereignty, with the issuance of laws and decrees to seeds by governments.
It is important to emphasize the importance of the seed, which must be understood as the source of life. Vandana Shiva (2012) enunciates it as follows: “The seed is the source of life, it is the desire of life to express itself, to renew itself, to multiply itself, to evolve freely in perpetuity. […] the seed is the first link in the food chain”. At this point in our evolution we can understand that life begins with a seed, without a seed there is no food and without food there is no life.

Social and artistic actions to maintain and defend the seeds are urgent:

Seeds are an essential part of the lives of indigenous and peasant peoples. Without them our planet would quickly become one big desert. Without seeds, agriculture, and all that it gives us, would not be possible either. These fundamental facts have been understood by people all over the world from thousands of years ago until our times. Therefore, protecting seeds and allowing access to them has been a fundamental norm across cultures, ideologies, religions, social classes and worldviews. (Montecinos, Amicus curiae, 2012)
Let’s start again from the primary and etymological conception of culture, which is where CULTIVO comes from, and, in order to cultivate the spirit, let’s go back to the action, now poetic, of cultivating the land, and let’s go back further to think about the care of the fields, where saving and reserving the seeds is a poetic action moved by a rethinking of the values that until now have set the pattern of human evolution. These values, applied to the urban development process, require, among many other changes, and in the words of the custodian Tiboche (2015), “a social process that demands that seeds are not considered a vile commodity by capital”, but that they are honored with respect for the life they shelter and provide us with.
Bearing in mind that, in this action and process, the knowledge and practices associated with the general care of seeds -which make it possible for them to germinate and be transformed into plants and food- are as essential as the seeds themselves, we can affirm that seeds are transmitters of culture and their viability is only possible in conjunction, in mutual collaboration with peasant knowledge.
This is an organic exhibition with interests of exponential growth, insofar as its impact must generate as many repercussions as the ideas of its addressees. In the search for a committed art, and with the certainty that it implies a contribution to social transformation, today more than ever it becomes totally necessary to open art to forceful action. We urge work that responds to current and real needs, that moves the community and incites it to act; something that we consider valid for any community, and that, of course, we wish to make concrete in Bogotá, our expanding city.
This exhibition coincides, from all points of view, with the axes of the Ten Year Culture Plan (2012-2021) in the field of cultural practices, and its basis is in the crossroads between the fundamental task of cultivating and its artistic reflection in the current context of the world and art. We make use of the particularity of aesthetic communication which, unlike everyday communication, makes it possible to stop at the object of our attention and requires us to look carefully in order to interpret the codes of the message and its resignification.
Displaying the seeds in their latent state, tempting their germination process until they become our food, is the excuse to visualize a need for change with perspectives of sustainability that transform imaginaries and cultural patterns. An exhibition of “art” should allow such a transformation.
CULTIVO, in particular, is constituted by concepts of mutual aid, where the associativity and solidarity are the fertilizer of the land for the sowing of such seeds. Land to re-know, appropriate and respect the diverse cultural practices around food, as well as to promote the cultural heritage of the inhabitants of the Techotiba territory (locality of Kennedy). This is a more than necessary incentive for their collective construction of coexistence, solidarity, participation and citizenship.
The need to live (feed ourselves) calls all of us – as a community – to participate, to generate, to sow, to care for, to cultivate, and to prove, through this exhibition, that generating a CULTURE is an attitude that can bring about a change, and with the change a different culture germinates.
This exhibition is consistent with the specific objective of the Local Plan of Art, Culture and Heritage of the town of Kennedy, which seeks to “strengthen the conditions for the exercise of the practices of the subfield of the arts to be broad, diverse, inclusive and accessible so that they consolidate the town of Kennedy as a scenario of and for the arts.

We consider it important that local people perceive that art deals with things that are their own and with issues that have a profound and essential bearing on their lives. We want them to be aware that, in the same proportion, art can have the power to change the way they conceive what directly concerns them and, therefore, their action can influence the environment and transform their surroundings.
CULTIVO builds a platform of action and germinates a conceptual tree to think the artistic field as a social practice in which diverse social agents, working in diverse areas and dimensions, manage to formulate in an integral and transversal way public interventions in the cultural field, establishing conditions for the effective exercise of the cultural rights promoted by the district cultural policies: “For our purposes it is necessary to mention the radical turn that marks the passage from a notion of art and culture as objects for appreciation, exhibition and consumption, to one that considers them as social practices” (District Institute of Culture and Tourism. District Cultural Policies 2004-2016).

Ser Jimenez
Bogotá, April 2016.



CULTURAL PROJECT: Reflections on the moment of art and food Conversations about urban agri-cultural practices (action or effect of cultivation, making the living grow, developing knowledge, talent and know-how).
SEEDS: Organization of Creation Workshops. Exercises of barter, exchanges and loans. (To prepare areas and to condition them specially to place the seeds with the purpose of producing its germination with the best conditions and care. Expose work. The cultural labors include a set of activities related to the agricultural ones that are carried out from the sowing and continue during the germination until the transplant to the definitive place. These labors are: irrigation, control of weeds, control of plagues and control of diseases).
GERMINATION: Observation of the miracle of life. What is necessary to achieve it? The search and management of the necessary factors for the optimal germination of the seeds, and to continue cultivating. (For the germination to take place, some external factors are necessary, such as a humid substrate, sufficient availability of oxygen, and an adequate temperature for the different metabolic processes. In addition, germination latency may require certain environmental stimuli such as light or low temperatures, or a weakening of the seed coat. The climate of the place where the crop is located also contributes. It is important to know and control the pests that can attack the future plant. If sprouts are to be produced for human consumption, very important factors must be taken into account: seed hygiene, water, environment in which they will develop).
HARVESTING: The exhibition has to harvest the fruits of the social encounters around the table and the food, to continue growing CROPS to replicate and promote their continuity (it is the most intense manual work during the harvesting season. The term harvest, in its general use, also includes the actions after the collection of the fruit itself, such as cleaning, sorting and packaging of the harvested, until its storage and shipment to the wholesale market or consumer).

Texts consulted:

Exhibited works:

  • Assembly and presentation of the TECHOTIBA SEEDS RESERVE (2003-2016)
    By Luis Eduardo Tiboche, Juliana Cepeda and Ser Jiménez.
  • NENDO NANGO: Walking Seed (2016)
    Ephemeral installation and participative reforestation action.
    By Juliana Cepeda and Ser Jiménez
  • The smell of guava (2016)
    On-site Installation, Variable Dimensions
    By John Nomesqui
  • Kikuyos, We have been blessed with works (2013)
    Drawings in ink and grass seed.
    By John Nomesqui
  • Roots of the Earth and Sower (2012)
    Charcoal on canvas
    By José Ismael Manco Parra
  • Song of the Beans (2010)
    Charcoal on MDF
    By José Ismael Manco Parra
  • Urban gardens, space for memory (2015)
    Photography, seeds and medicinal plants.
    By Catalina Villamizar
  • Participation and Collaboration
    SLOWFOOD Bogotá