August 20, 2008

A River Cries Out: The Rimac River Project

Río Rimac, Rimac River.

In the old days, they called it El Río Hablador, The River That Speaks.

During the winter rains in the Andes, the water would rush down so forcefully the sound of the constant grinding of the giant boulders that line the riverbed seemed to make a noise akin to talking.

I think that still happens at the height of the rainy season in the Andes; but, mostly when I think of the Rimac in its current state, I just imagine a polluted, uncared-for, and abandoned river.

As the Rimac approaches, and traverses Lima, it is akin to a giant garbage disposal system.

Three Peruvian artists (Jorge Luis Baca de las Casas, Alejandro Jaime Carbonel, Guillermo Palacios Pomareda) felt the same way, but decided to do something about it, creating the Proyecto Río Rimac, the Rimac River Project, which is both a love song and an accusation, a testament and denunciation.

They decided one way to raise awareness about this emblematic river was to walk, during 21 days, the entire length of the Rimac, from its genesis in the high Andean puna to the spot in the Callao Naval Base where its waters meet the ocean.

They took photographs, drew pictures, videographed, and blogged the project, from beginning to end.

Their blog is available in English and Spanish, and they plan on having an exhibition at the Centro Cultural de España, the Cultural Center of Spain, in Lima, during the APEC conference this coming October.

I posted the above photos from the Río Rimac project.

It was too depressing to post the pictures of the river after man's polluting hand.

Definitely worth checking out the following links:

Proyecto Río Rimac blog

They have great photos on Flickr, here are the links:

first four days

days 5 to 8

days 9 to 12

days 12 to 14

days 15 to 17

day 18

day 19

day 20

day 21

There was also a report on the Peruvian television program, Cuarto Poder, that discussed the project in Spanish.

Here is that video, in two parts:


Canelita said...

Having grown up in Rímac, the city named after this river, I would watch the portion that runs along Lima's Historical Centre virtually on a daily basis. Back then, I remember how polluted it already looked, especially during the months when the river remained rather quiet. Unfortunately, looking at the photos from the Proyecto Río Rimac, it's evident that the neglect towards such an important source of water has been steadily on the rise. I commend the artists' commitment to this project and hope that they raise enough awareness to turn the Rimac around into a less polluted river.

::Alejandro:: said...

The great thing is that there are people willing to think outside the box, able to have imagination and vision, and willing to try their best despite the odds seeming insurmountable. From your keypad to the Pachamama's ears...

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