MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE documents the effects of extreme natural phenomena on intangible heritage in Providencia y Santa Catalina Islands, Colombia.
Cultures founded on ancestral knowledge have practices that are deeply rooted in the management of natural resources, inherently informing how they coexist with their environment in a sustainable way. Since their way of life is so interdependent to their surroundings, extreme natural phenomena, much driven by climate change, put vulnerable ecosystems at such risk that the cultural practices that rely on them could be lost. Unfortunately, the communities most exposed to these changes often have the fewest resources to protect their culture from vanishing.
In 2020, category IV hurricane IOTA destroyed 98% of the ecosystems and infrastructure of Providencia and Santa Catalina, two small islands in the Caribbean with approximately 5000 inhabitants: The Raizal people. Since the reconstruction was the responsibility of the Colombian government, the Raizal culture found itself facing another threat. Successive governments have pursued a strategy of homogeneity throughout the territory, consistently under-valuing the ancestral cultures in the periphery.