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Saved By Art Third Scene Pure Greatest Talent

Asus 61 years old, Dora Becerra modeled on Caracas Avenue with 23rd Street and stole all eyes with the paper dress she made with her own hands. On the skirt, made from newspaper sheets, she sewed a headline: “Historic triumph in NY of four women of Colombian origin in primaries,” and photos of her three grandchildren.

In her dress she also cut, pasted and sewed her story as an older woman and as an inhabitant of the town of San Cristóbal. To tell it, Dora cut out letters from the newspaper and pasted them to compose her story: she tells that she was born in Sogamoso (Boyacá), but that she grew up in Bogotá and that she married at 19 years old, that she has lived in Juan Rey for 30 years and that today She is part of the Third Scene Network, a group of older women dedicated to art.

“I am happy with my classmates and with Professor Mario, because he teaches us many things such as exercises and many dances. And now they give us refreshments, ”says her dress.

“I wear it with great pride because I did it with my hands and it brings back memories,” says Dora, and she takes an elegant and light turn to show it off. “I really like dance … that says a lot about you,” he adds.

The Third Scene Network, of which Dora is a part, was born in 2019, but took its first steps in 2015, when the artist and teacher Mario Orbes arrived in San Cristóbal and met a group of women who were already accessing the district offer of culture in the Day Centers, the district facilities that provide social services to the elderly (see box). Together, they began to work on different projects of dance, traditional music, theater and fine arts… and among them were paper dresses.

Asus 61 years old, Dora Becerra modeled on Caracas Avenue with 23rd Street and stole all eyes with the paper dress she made with her own hands. On the skirt, made from newspaper sheets, she sewed a headline: “Historic triumph in NY of four women of Colombian origin in primaries,” and photos of her three grandchildren.

In her dress she also cut, pasted and sewed her story as an older woman and as an inhabitant of the town of San Cristóbal. To tell it, Dora cut out letters from the newspaper and pasted them to compose her story: she tells that she was born in Sogamoso (Boyacá), but that she grew up in Bogotá and that she married at 19 years old, that she has lived in Juan Rey for 30 years and that today She is part of the Third Scene Network, a group of older women dedicated to art.

“I am happy with my classmates and with Professor Mario, because he teaches us many things such as exercises and many dances. And now they give us refreshments, ”says her dress.

“I wear it with great pride because I did it with my hands and it brings back memories,” says Dora, and she takes an elegant and light turn to show it off. “I really like dance … that says a lot about you,” he adds.

The Third Scene Network, of which Dora is a part, was born in 2019, but took its first steps in 2015, when the artist and teacher Mario Orbes arrived in San Cristóbal and met a group of women who were already accessing the district offer of culture in the Day Centers, the district facilities that provide social services to the elderly (see box). Together, they began to work on different projects of dance, traditional music, theater and fine arts… and among them were paper dresses.

“The project is‘ Women of paper ’and was born first as an environmental commitment. But later, we understood that the paper and the newspaper had a communicative capacity and, then, they used it to tell their own stories, their anecdotes, their experience in the territory ”, explains Orbes.

Women like Dora enthusiastically received the idea of ​​Orbes and made their dresses with the illusion of showing off the history of their struggles on their bodies.

I live in Guacamayas and I saw a notice that said that people over 62 could enter Centro Día for a process of aging with dignity
I said ready, I went and signed up, “says María Lilia.

“I, María Lilia Peña, was born in 1951 in La Vega (Cundinamarca). I arrived in San Cristóbal in 1966 (…). In 1980, the biggest problem in the Guacamayas neighborhood was the lack of water and transportation service.

My most important achievement was to get a home of my own working with my husband and that my children were studied, we train men professionals ”, says the collage of letters cut out of a newspaper and pasted on the back of María Lilia’s dress, who turns around and explains that her dress is machine-made, that she is going to be eight years old and that she has“ about few fixes ”to keep his life story intact. María Lilia also added a hat and bracelets and earrings, also made of paper as accessories. “I feel like an old lady” and, like Dora, she knows how to pose her creation for the camera.

Orbes smiles and notes, “the project has allowed us to recognize that older people not only need basic care, but also creative spaces.” For the video that accompanies this story, some of the women of the Network exposed their talents. Their teacher gave them the dance and movement guidelines and they, with just a few signs, already knew what to do: rock those bodies that have lived through years of joys and pains.

“We want them to have their routines to strengthen at home. It has been a beautiful work of reconciliation with his body … Sometimes they say ‘oh, it’s that it hurts, it’s that I got lost’. But here we want to show that we can all do dance to the best of our ability. There are dance centers that seek the perfection of movement; I look for the authenticity of the movement ”, says Orbes.

Lonely years
According to the latest census, in Bogotá there are 1,058,209 people over 60 years of age: that is, about 14 percent of the population is elderly and demands special attention for their rights, especially in the context of a pandemic that made them more vulnerable.

An article in Bogotá Como Vamos, published in 2020, already warned that it was “vital to strengthen social policies aimed at the well-being of the elderly.” And it was not a matter of perception. That same article indicated that, according to figures from Legal Medicine, between 2016 and 2018, there was an 18 percent increase in the rate of violence against older adults. In the last two years, the figures have remained: in 2019 there were 489 cases of violence and, in 2020, 432.

What is worrying is that the pandemic aggravated those factors that already made them vulnerable to violence. Last year, the District Secretariat for Social Integration recognized that among the main problems that this population had to go through were difficulties in generating income, barriers to access to health, the increase in intra-family violence, the absence of support networks, food insecurity and mental health problems.

“I arrived at Centro Día with a very strong depression, due to home problems… My first husband died and I made a home with another person with whom I lived for 20 years. But… one day a rose crossed her on the road and she left ”, says Inés, who was left alone with a son and her granddaughters. That episode plunged her into a diagnosed depression that has left her in bed several times and worsened in a pandemic.

“It was terrible. Before that, my shelter was the Day Center: I went to the gym, to recreation. But with the pandemic I couldn’t go back, in month three I got sick… it was a stress attack, something weird, ”adds Inés.

When the measures began to give way, Inés returned to the arms of what has been her salvation since 2016: music.

Although she does not have a dress like the other ‘Paper Women’ of the collective, she accompanies the project with her voice, which has been promoted by Orbes.

“In a task at the Day Center they asked us: what was left for them to do? And I had the dream of being a singer, and that’s where this was born. The teacher began to give me exercises with popular songs, we founded the group Los Parranderos Mayores … and I was forgetting the problems I had, “he says.

Although with the pandemic the trials and the project were partially stopped, Orbes revived it with a new strategy. “We began to make a series of audiovisual records of what women did in their domestic spaces and we sought that this scene of the house be the space for creation: we did it with the project ‘She dances alone’, which resulted in eight documentary videos of older women in their homes. The idea was to explore that loneliness experienced by older people, but to make it creative loneliness ”, explains the artist.

“For me it was beautiful. They went to my house and made a whole stage, with their lights, their veils. It was the golden dream that I had ”, points out Inés.

That dream of her and her companions was recorded on Instagram and YouTube, through the Red Tercera Scene accounts. There, you can see this group of artists dance to the sound of their slogan, which is played in several of their videos:

“I am a woman, I am older, I am old, I am old, I am memory, I am history, I am a document, I am a book, I am resistance, I am resilience, I am light, I am a guide, I am all.”

District and senior
For the elderly, the District offers comprehensive services in the Day Centers, the Day – Night Centers and the Social Protection Centers.

“In addition, with the Social Troop we have made progress in identifying older adults to whom our offer has not reached. We have linked them with the Day Centers and with a multidisciplinary offer for the use of free time, financial support and food security ”, explains Ómar Moreno, local deputy director of Social Integration in San Cristóbal.

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