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Visitors take a tour of the Expo 2020 Dubai. Kamal Kassim, Gulf Today

Staff Reporter, Gulf Today

Colombia, the second most biodiverse country and a leading nature and adventure tourism destination, is preparing to highlight its charming regions at the upcoming ‘Travel and Connectivity Week’ at Expo 2020 Dubai taking place from January 09-15, 2022.

 In line with Colombia’s efforts to strengthen its position on the global tourism map and reactivate its economy, the Colombia Pavilion will share the country’s immense business and investment prospects available in the tourism sector. Furthermore, it will showcase Colombia’s initiatives to foster collaborations with regional and international business entities to strengthen its tourism sector and position the country as an ideal travel destination. It will also highlight the significance of its six touristic regions and how these are vital to the nation’s response to the latest global tourism trends and demands.

The charming regions—Amazon-Orinoquía, Western Andes, Eastern Andes, Greater Colombian Caribbean, Massifs, and Pacific—make Colombia one of the world’s megadiverse nations. These multicultural, high biodiversity regions with unique attributes are highly accessible thanks to their state-of-the art infrastructure.

Colombia’s pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai features its cultural diversity, natural ecosystems, ancient culture and history, and urban tourism of its regions. Due to its diverse and rich natural environment, the country is an ideal holiday destination for travelers with a variety of interests, from those seeking sandy beaches to those wanting an adventurous excursion through the forests.

The exhibition at the Colombia Pavilion features the immense potential of the country’s touristic regions. It aims to attract travelers with its wide variety of destinations, as well as foster new collaborations to aid the growth of Colombia’s tourism sector.

The Greater Colombian Caribbean is one of the most sought-after travel destinations in the world, with its sandy beaches, traditional cuisines, historic cities, cultural and natural diversity. Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas, a world heritage site by UNESCO, Tayrona National Park, the sea of seven colors of San Andres and Providencia, located in the Seaflower Biosphere Reserve, one of the most important marine ecosystems, Barranquilla, known for the world-famous Carnival of Barranquilla, and Palomino beach are some of the major attractions in this region.

The Pacific region in Colombia is a biodiversity hotspot with its vast stretches of beaches and lush forests. In this part of the country, travelers can spot humpback whales, snorkel in Nuqui, and learn traditional African culture in Tumaco, enjoy salsa in the city of Santiago de Cali and relish the cuisines of the Pacific.

 The Andean region is the most populated in Colombia, and it comprises West Andes, Central Andes, and East Andes. This region is also known for its vast stretch of Andean Forest and diversity in birds and coffee production. Medellin, known as the City of Eternal Spring, La Miel River, Los Nevados National Natural Park and Cocora Valley, are a few of the important destinations in the Western Andes, which is known for its urban and coffee culture.

The Eastern Andes is another region in Andean that includes places such as Gallineral Natural Park, Chicamochar river, El Cocuy National Natural Park, Paramo of Iguaque, Salt Cathedral in Zipaquira, Chingaza National Natural Park and Bogota, to name a few.

 Colombian Massif, known for agroecosystem and xerophytic vegetation, also has many incredible places that offer remarkable experience such as Tatacoa Desert, Puracé National Natural Park, Cocha Lagoon and Las Lajas in Nariño. Black and White’s carnival, one of the largest celebrations in Colombia, is held each year in Pasto, in this region.

 The last of the six regions that will also be showcased at the Expo 2020 is Amazonia-Orinoquia. Tuparro National Natural Park, Eastern Plains, Sierra de la Macarena, Mavecure, table mountains of Serranía del Chiribiquete, waterfalls in Jirijirimo, and Amacayacu National Natural Park are some of the attractions that make it a major travel destination.

Angola pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai presented a collective art exhibition entitled ‘Conexões’ or ‘Connections’ as part of the Angola Day festivities concluded recently.

The exhibition, aligned with the Angola pavilion’s theme of “connecting with tradition to innovate,” featured 12 of the nation’s most celebrated artists spanning six generations.

 Commenting on the ‘Conexões’ exhibition, Carla Peario, curator of the collective exhibition, said, “These works of art reflect the concerns, hopes and motivations of artists who are using Angolan and African culture as the source of inspiration for their art. The pieces in the exhibition approach techniques like impressionism, expressionism, surrealism, the abstract and the figurative in an identity fusion of the African art.”

“The artworks displayed at the ‘Conexões’ exhibition inspired variety in its use of materials as it is the technique. The collection showcased artworks from their contemporary and traditional streams, ranging from paintings and installations to bronze sculptures. Some of the works have been created from recycled printed papers,” she added.

According to her, the artworks have been created from experiences and cultures of their ancestors and integrating that knowledge with modern and diverse ways of thinking to find solutions to the current problems. “The heritage and history of not just Angola but all of Africa crystalized on canvases made with recycled paper, fabric, hessian, cotton thread, plastic, shells, and acrylic paint demonstrating the diversity and creativity of Angolan art.”

Carla Peario also used the exhibition to share her passion for reinterpreting the ‘Sona’ which is based on the Tucokwe sand drawings. “I wanted to show the link between an ancestral tradition and its use in new artistic techniques so that I could reappropriate our ancestor’s legacy and bring attention to how important they are for conveying universal messages and teachings for society,” she remarked.

The various forms of art presented at the exhibition rooted in Angolan culture and heritage, predominantly inspired by ideograms of the Lunda Tchokwe culture, the philosophy of African proverbs, the physical and mental connection between beings, common social problems, the beauty and adornment of African women, the tradition of African courts and its Afro-futurist interpretation.

 Peario herself proposed an interactive sandbox inspired by ‘Sona’, where visitors were given the ability to create their own Sonas and enjoy a tactile and visual experience of Angolan culture and history.

 t the Angola Pavilion, visitors are shown how Angola’s history and their technological innovations are intimately linked. The Pavilion focuses on the Angolan Chowke people and their relationship with the people of Angola today by using symbols like a large parrot called Toje, that symbolises freedom of thought. That is one of the symbols that the Pavilion is using to reintroduce the dying art of storytelling.

The education cluster at the Angola Pavilion is presenting modern opportunities for people of Angola. They are displaying Angola’s program to educate students who are interested in the aerospace industry as a part of their program  to promote space research. It includes the opportunity to attend a technology space institute for free.

Culture is a key part of the Angola Pavilion at this edition of the Expo. They are having nightly performances throughout the duration of the Expo where musicians from all over Angola will play modern and ancient music. They are also hosting regular performances on traditional and contemporary dance forms and visitors can attend workshops to learn about ancient instruments and how they were handmade.

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