Artist-led expeditions into one of the richest biomes on earth with indigenous culture & ecology. Reconnect to nature, learn from indigenous knowledge and explore pressing issues of our time.
Tropic 08°N (Guna Yala, Panama) presents a rare opportunity to research and develop new artistic & creative practices in a remote natural environment between rainforest and sea, in collaboration with an autonomous, indigenous group, matriarchal culture and community at the gateway between South and Central America. Respect for community and nature remain at the heart of this place and culture despite increased connections to the globalized world.
Our fluid, site-responsive program introduces creatives to the local ecology and culture as well as the socio-political and historical contexts of the area, whilst presenting reciprocal benefits for local communities both socially + economically through our presence and exchange.
We cultivate spaces that nourish and encourage space for personal and professional growth, the freedom to learn and experiment creatively, gather and find new inspiration in remote wilderness far from structural or institutional frameworks and limitations.
Though this program we engage with new ecological and cultural perspectives of our time in a multitude of ways, as well as promoting necessary dialogues and understanding between remote areas of this planet to others worldwide.
‘Our community can attest that La Wayaka Current have the philosophy and conviction to strengthen indigenous cultures and a strong focus on the conservation of native species. They make efforts to bring people closer to these topics, creating awareness about natural environments and the communities that live in them to others in light of the current environmental and social crisis that overwhelms our world today. We encourage all to support La Wayaka Current in all their work.’
- Osvaldo Castro, Sahila (Spiritual Elder) and Alan Bonilla, General Secretary of Indigenous Community of Armila, Guna Yala
‘La Wayaka Current has been operating together with Yaug Galu Foundation, registered under the laws of the Republic of Panama, in cultural, environmental, artistic and ecological exchange within our community. La Wayaka Current has shown a great deal of responsibility towards our community, and due to this we genuinely revere them as a serious, responsible entity committed to the needs of indigenous communities.’
- Hermogenes Martinez Crespo (Vice President of Yaug Galu Foundation) and Arcelio Perez Nelson (General Secretary of Yaug Galu Foundation)
The Guna Yala Province is the first and only autonomous indigenous territory in Latin America. Since their revolution of 1925 they have been able to protect their land, culture and resources from transnational corporations and outsider interest that threatens their way of life.
Through their political and territorial autonomy the Guna’s continue to fiercely protect their own people and surrounding nature. Within the comarca (365 islands and huge areas of tropical rainforest) each community has individual leaders and representatives along with The General Congress of Guna Yala that watches over the whole comarca.
Through years of relationship together with these communities and representatives of Guna Yala, La Wayaka Current has become the first organisation to work together with the Guna’s to build together a residency and exchange project such as this.
Our partnership and project has been a result of continuous meetings and collaboration between La Wayaka Current, Ommagged Dummad (The Tribal General Congress of Guna Yala Comarca), Local Community Elders, Indigenous Conservation Groups, Schools, Community groups, representatives and members living within the communities we work. It is because of this strong and personal ties and connections and through collaboration that this project has developed.
We together with the community strongly believe that building personal and professional connections between indigenous communities and those from around the world is important during our current social and environmental crisis. It is through listening and learning to those with strong ties to nature and community that we can regain consciousness that has been lost around the world and support those who are truly protecting our shared home and planet.
We run a series of rolling deadlines in the period upcoming to our programs. Decisions on applications take between 10-15 days after the deadlines.
Program Duration and Dates
This program is designed for participation for either 3 or 6 week periods on the following dates.
Sept 24 - Oct 15, 2019
Oct 17 - Nov 7, 2019
April 7 - April 28, 2020
April 30 - May 21, 2020
A shared room in accommodation constructed by locals in the heart of the community, simple with shower, toilet and communal space with areas to work and relax. If you would like to request a single room please contact us for availability and fees. Stay connected with other creative participants and focus on your projects while we take care of daily logistics.
+ Food / Water
Participants will be given a combination of served / prepared meals and ingredients for communal cooking during their stay. This includes breakfast, lunch + dinner. Ingredients are locally sourced and native to the area. Microbiologically filtered drinking water channelled from the local water source will be available to participants during their stay.
+ Working Space
Create in a communal and diverse workspace in the heart of the community where you will have the opportunity to utilize basic, local tools and materials in a creative + supportive environment.
Opportunities to meet and speak with locals regarding the local culture, politics + ecology of the tropical environment.
Access all the resources you need beforehand to get the most out the experience, including advice on planning the trip, how / where to book and arrange your travel international + local, health and safety advice + more.
+ Peer Group
Enrich your experience by sharing with a group of other participants from different creative fields from all over the world with merging interests and concerns.
+ Location Support
Participants will have a network of support throughout the duration of your stay from both English speaking guides, experienced in fields of art + cultural subjects along with knowledgable local guides from the community.
+ Local Transfers
Welcome on arrival with english speaking guides offering assistance through immigration with a specially arranged transfer via speedboat or trekking (without luggage + depending on sea conditions) directly from the landing strip into the difficult to access community, surrounded by dense tropical rainforest and sea.
+ Research Trips
Explore the raw nature and surroundings in and around the Guna Yala National Park, and gather information to inspire works in a creative group environment, through our curated research trips focussed around ecology, community + local culture with both local and english speaking guides experienced in fields of arts + cultural subjects.
+ Local Taxes
Local taxes are covered per participant to further support both the Guna Yala Comarca and local community in their autonomy and independence alongside the protection of their culture and land.
Depending on the nature of the project participants will be given opportunities to showcase works or work-in-progress on a local level within the community or La Wayaka Current group, as well as through our online platform and in exhibitions reaching or intl. audiences.
Opportunities to interact and learn from experienced cultural practitioners within the community practicing traditional indigenous skills using native + local materials through demonstrations and collaborative workshops.
+ Funding Support
We offer support to participants without the means to support themselves privately to apply for further funds, after being accepted onto the program. This includes providing comprehensive lists of intl. funders, checking through applications, offering advice based on experience with previous successful applicants, supporting letters, documents + information. Previous funders include Arts Council's in UK, Australia, Scandinavia and more.
Fees + Financial Aid:
We currently offer financial aid, support in seeking funding from other institutions, work-exchange opportunities and bursaries on all our programs. Our aim is to make this residency accessible for all those who wish to take part. Contact us directly for fees, to find out what aid is currently available and what you may be eligible for.
How to Apply:
Fill out all information on the Online Application Form including personal information, selection of dates + location. Tell us why you want to join us in your ‘statement of intent’ and fill out our scenario based questions.
If you are applying for financial aid please check the appropriate box on the application form.
For applications of more than 1 person an individual can fill out one application on behalf of the group.
(Zero Application Fees)
To help fund your experience view our past supporters.
Request our PDF for residency program information with more details on the latest expedition itineraries, research trips, talks and other curated activities.