Cimarrón Producciones is an audiovisual production company that focuses on artistic outputs and multimedia. They operate in the area between cinematography and the community, because they believe in skill and imagination are tools for transformation and social development.
"We want to be part of the memory construction and the country’s social knitting. Much of our work is the visibility of processes in communities. We have worked with children and youth making political advocacy through art," says Zulay Riascos
The production company founded in Bogotà, Colombia in March, 2013, is presently made up of five interdisciplinary Colombian women of colour. Heny Cuesta, founder and director of Cimarrón Producciones, Karen González, co-founder, and audiovisual filmmaker, Zulay Riascos, producer, filmmaker and illustrator,
Laura Asprilla, audiovisual communicator and filmmaker, and Maio Rivas, ethno-comunidora and audiovisual producer.
"We realized what our contribution to the social transformation of the country should be and the need to make the processes and challenges of Afro-Colombian communities more useful by participating in different processes at national and international level," says Riascos. Cinematogrophy came natural because it's a universal language that tells realities through art; touching on those social problems, through inclusive narratives that reflect their sensitivity and empathy towards other communities and territory.
And, they don't limit themselves. They want to generate networks with more
collectives or projects throughout the African diaspora, where they along within their own circle, find inspiration for their projects. "The different stories and memories we find in each population, because they are so different but at the same time
they continue to bring us closer to the history of a country that seeks not to forget and forgive," explains Riascos.
They still face a myriad of obstacles in terms of their trade. Being a team made up of women and working in a sexist, centralized and elitist industry
it is difficult to achieve recognition or support for their work as there are many corners still closed to diversity.
"We hope that there will be social, ethnic and environmental changes to improve the current problems related to these issues, says Riascos and later adding, "Despite finding obstacles, we have managed to enter artistic and social circles for the value of our work, because it has been our unique and creative cover letter made mostly by multidisciplinary Afro women."
Latin America is different from North America and some other parts of the world because the outstretch is smaller in this arena, and econmic support doesn't always exist to encourage cultural projects of different themes. For this reason, many
groups and companies have decided to create external alliances and collaborations
to continue the work of creation.
This being the case, the visual aesthetic remains central. Their film references are guided towards a documentary language. In their endevours they manage their own narrative in which different
characters can be included for a diverse audience. In addition, they make an attempt to establish their brand through an inclusive and social image that rescues
the true values of their territories.
"At the moment I am in Jaipur working on some new textiles as the printing studio I work with is here. I don't live here - am based a little all over the place! Basically between Paris and Dubai, with a lot of trips to India and yearly trips to New York as well.
I was born and raised in Paris barring five years as a kid spent in Norway. But yes most of my schooling was completed in Paris till age 18 which is when I left to NY to attend Parsons.
The best thing about my hometown, Paris, is the cultural aspect of your daily life. Everything is embedded in art, fashion, architecture.. you’re constantly surrounded by these experiences. There are exciting things happening in these domains all the time - it’s very stimulating. The French culture itself pays great attention to details and aesthetics in everything it does. It's a beautiful place to be.
My mother is a well known painter from India and this meant we were always surrounded by the world of art and creative people. I knew I wanted to do something with the arts but wasn't sure what and then discovered there was this industry beyond fine arts. There's product design, architecture, fashion accessory design... I like the idea of art and function coming together under the umbrella of design.
I have a strong affinity for textile work because I love the tangible aspect of it. You can take a blank piece of fabric and make it into something completely different through multiple processes. I also love that textiles applies itself to so many mediums. The versatility. You can make installations with it. You can make clothes with it and you can make home products with it. Though most of my work has been in fashion, I remain open what different areas I can explore. I don't consider myself strictly a fashion designer in that sense.
I studied at Parsons School of Design in New York where I completed a four-year Bachelor of Fine Arts in fashion design with a speciality in materiality, and a couple of side courses in jewelry design. Basically exactly what I'm doing now! During my years at Parsons I did take one semester abroad in London, at Central Saint Martins, where the focus of the studies was solely on Print Design.
The process of creation begins with looking at my surroundings. I'm drawn to textural elements; colour, line, patterns. I usually draw inspiration from new environments when I travel. I'm inspired and in an unconventional sense. I can stumble upon an old door and that excites me more than actual sightseeing in the city. I love old walls. I love crackled surfaces. A lot of surfaces haha. The way light hits them. Little specific things that are hard to explain. I photograph all that I notice and then keep all this as a visual database that can be revisited whenever I want to make something. The inspiration starts from travel, goes into photography and then goes into implementing that imagery into textile form.
Different people have had a big influence on me. I would say my mother primarily, because I grew up watching her work. It's nice to have a parent in the creative industry: someone who understands the volatility of it and the uncertainty of it. She's a successful artist which mean she's still positive about creative industries and careers in general. Often you find parents are not supportive of someone who wants to go into fashion and art. Aside from her, I've been fortunate to meet several influential people through competitions and such. Be it Donna Karan, Fern Mallis, Mickey Boardman among others. It’s been great to sit down and get advice from industry veterans.
In terms of my taste and aesthetic, I like things that are abstract and have a lot of depth be it depth of color or depth of feel/touch. I'm attracted to things with interesting surface work, whether it's a ceramic plate, the surface of a table..some kind of wood, metal, glass? You name it haha. I admire Japanese culture and Japanese aesthetics a lot as well. The clean lines, the great use of natural materials, the sense of “visual balance” in all that they do.
No one really asks about my beauty routine haha! Nothing special, not exactly an expert here. Though I’ll say the half-Indian in me swears by coconut oil for sad locks and dry skin anytime! Otherwise Dior Hydra-Life Sorbet Creme is something I use a lot.
When I'm not working I'm looking up other you get designers/artists/makers on Instagram, seeing other people’s work and creative paths is always fascinating to me as everyone has such a different expertise and signature of their own. I love to travel as well and do research on different countries I want to visit all the time - even though the trip is not planned anytime soon haha. Another thing I would say I do is spend some time everyday trying to catch up with friends and keep contact with people in general - everyone is very spread out so it’s important to keep in touch.
How I unwind would be pretty standard really! Netflix?Try new restaurants and bars? Mostly -trying to meet up with friends. I'm very social and find it really exciting to get to know someone new from time to time. What I do is quite solitary so i’s nice to take breaks, see people and remember you're not in a bubble."