A Cloud above me
According to the census “Demography and Health” conducted in 2015 by the Colombian Health Department and Profamilia, 39.6% of households in urban areas and 25.5% of households in rural areas are headed by women. Among these, the number of households headed by single women increased to 2.9% between 2010 and 2015 (Encuesta Nacional de Demografía y Salud, 2015). These figures reflect the changes in the conformation of Colombian families and highlight the reorganization of roles within family groups. It is important to remark that a substantial part of this growth is due to the absence of men in families, whether due to separation, widowhood, free relationships or, in the case highlighted in this project, abandonment.
It is essential to clarify that paternal absence is not a generalized problem and does not apply to all Colombian and Latin-American families. However, it is a phenomenon that has been naturalized, accepted and has mutated through political, economical, and social changes in the region. It has also been influenced by religious and cultural traditions that have dictated the role of gender, the functioning of the family, and the expectations of being in one.
The starting point of this work is my personal experience but it transcends to other families and even other Latin American countries. “A Cloud above me” is a project that pretends to show a demographic and cultural situation that few have spoken of, either because it is seen as normal or as acceptable or because emotionally and psychologically, it is hard to externalize. This project intends to present life experiences in which the absent father figure has been unveiled and has marked, one way or another, the conformation of family, the emotional and affection growth process in children and has intervened on the role of every family member. Its final goal is to question the patriarchal and conservative society in which Colombian and Latin American society is rooted.