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#CaliMeAma

A statment for reconciliation and dialogue

Client:
ARQUIDIÓCESIS DE CALI

Year:
2021

Country:
COLOMBIA

Creative direction

PAULO LEDESMA

Art direction

MAR AGUIRRE

Photography

ISABELLA DE LA HOZ
ALEJANDRA RESTREPO
DANIELA MOSKVIN
CASA EDITORIAL EL TIEMPO
ARCHIVOS PARTICULARES

Description

We created the creative concept, copy, and identity #CaliMeAma for the Archdiocese and the Chamber of Commerce of Cali, amid the deepened social crisis in our city due to the pandemic and the start of the National Strike. The campaign focuses its efforts on creating a phrase/symbol that would boost morale among citizens, recognize their demands, and prompt institutions to take action to facilitate the creation of an atmosphere of dialogue and reconciliation.

Focus

Create a strong, simple, recognizable, and easily memorable concept. It should be adoptable by various actors of the citizenry, with a strong invitation to reflection without questioning or denying their arguments.

Create a symbol?

The main request was to create a symbol, a graphic identity that “unified” the city. However, we couldn’t ignore the symbolic and narrative review moment that the city was going through. On day zero of the National Strike, the Misak community toppled the statue of Sebastián de Belalcázar, a Spanish conqueror and founder of the city of Cali (as well as Quito and Popayán). History has already shown and recognized that his actions in these lands resulted in the genocide of many indigenous peoples, so the symbolic significance over the city has lost its relevance over the years to many of the emerging new citizenries.

So we ask ourselves… Is it pertinent to create a symbol? Is symbolic construction an institutional, popular, or collective act? Are we then building a new symbol disregarding these new citizenries?

Original photograph: Casa Editorial el Tiempo

How were we seen?

One of the major Colombian media outlets wrote an article about the situation in the city. The author paraphrased one of the most famous expressions, “Cali, branch of heaven,” and changed it to “Cali, branch of hell.” This terrible blunder resulted in widespread outrage due to the flippant nature of the comment and its disastrous consequences on the perception of our city, at a time when we needed more support and light, rather than reproaches and condemnations.

With that headline in mind (and considering the ongoing circumstances), our creative team recalled the challenging situation of New York in the 70s and 80s. It was an unmanageable city, dominated by mafias, violence, and chaos. Isn’t it from there that the best of the city emerged?

Original text: Revista Semana

The city of fear

Yeah, we know. Comparing New York to a city like Cali doesn’t make sense. But one thing we were sure of is that something beautiful came out of that chaos, something legendary that has become not only an intangible asset of the city but of the whole world in the long run.

The legendary Milton Glaser took on the task of contributing to and being part of that solution, aiming to design an advertising campaign that would work both internally and externally: it had to attract visitors and, at the same time, boost the morale of the citizens… With this in mind, he created the famous I ♥ NY.

Source: The Guardian

During the 70s, there were flyers circulating in New York City, advising visitors on how to survive the city: avoid the night, protect your property, only visit certain areas… Doesn’t that sound similar to what we’ve been experiencing in our city? If we take out “New York” and put in “Cali” on that over 40-year-old flyer… Would it still be relevant here?

What did we learn from I ♥ NY?

While the intention and success of the famous logo lie in its simplicity, the sense of individual responsibility was the only thing that bothered us. That is, starting from the “I” as an individual, responsible for “MY” city, suggested that maybe the path wasn’t about what “I” want to do with “MY” city but about what my city does and feels for me. Isn’t it a significant part of the city that feels alienated? Is it time to think of ourselves as individuals or as collective beings? The whole exercise, with its adversities, doubts, mistakes, indicated that the path was different. That’s where we said, maybe we can take another spin… Plus… making more “I ♥ (put city name here)” ads sounds like a drag.

"Our thing is collective"

What happens between one citizen and another? Isn’t the search for the “collective” what has us rethinking?

Amid community kitchens, massive artistic demonstrations, cultural events, marches, gatherings, readings, libraries, united cities… the most sensible thing is to talk about how the city embraces me, how the city welcomes me, invites me to tell who I am, what I think, and what I want as a project, to learn to bring to the table the discussions that we’ve avoided for years.

Our symbol is the word

Cali loves me,

That’s why I don’t throw in the towel.
That’s why I’m there for my friends.
That’s why I make myself heard with dignity.
That’s why I don’t betray my principles.
That’s why, despite the pain, we stand strong.
That’s why my memory is the future.

Cali loves me,

And I’m building a diverse and inclusive living space.
And I’m giving voice to those who don’t have it.
And I’m creating opportunities that fulfill dreams.
And I’m raising awareness throughout the entire country.
And I’m nourishing the hope of creating a peaceful country.

Cali loves me, and I…

To the streets

In the outreach effort, 4 series of posters were printed with the same message. The idea was for the message to reach as many spaces as possible, regardless of their stance on the circumstances. Traders, business people, citizens, and protesters… the idea goes beyond unity. Isn’t it our differences that make us human?

Looking for spaces

The so-called Silent March aimed to confront the roadblocks by protesters during one of the most complex moments. The posters were present, standing out among the crowd, with their message of love. While not all attendees were on the same page, a small group successfully advocated for a consensus to resolve the conflict. One of the goals, to have a “horizontal” phrase, was finding its space.

The other street

Days after being in the media, driven by institutions, the posters began to spread through the streets, in the spaces gained by the protesters, by the “other Cali” that was reclaiming its rights with dignity and anger.

This campaign is yours

The instructions for using this statment are simple: Use it to spread love, calm, and forgiveness. Use it to express your ideas. Use it to invite deep reflection. This complex process has taught us that those conversations we’ve avoided for years, we’re going to have to have them.

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