by Javier Durango
Gestos Auríferos (auriferous gestures) consist of a series of conceptual and sculptural pieces for the hands, that portray: the story of the artisanal gold miner Américo Asprilla, his connection with the earth, his gold extraction ritual, his labor sacrifice and the importance of his hands. Auriferous gestures, intends to raise awareness towards the importance of the artisanal gold mining extraction, our artisan miners and the vulnerable afro descendent community from the Colombian Pacific.
The Barequeo or artisanal gold mining in “Agua Clara” (Colombian Pacific village) is a family extraction tradition that has as a priority to preserve the environment. This practice has passed from generation to generation, from the first Afro community in the country and has now become essential in their cultural heritage. All their social, economic and even spiritual activities are linked to Barequeo, making it their life nucleus and becoming part of their identity as a community. This traditional method of gold extraction from an almost forgotten community should be seen as an example for others to follow and as a viable solution for an overexploiting industry blind sighted by ambition.