El Kolectivo was born from the mass mobilization, human indignation, community action and artistic expression. The name El Kolectivo was originated in early 2011. At the time, the group was called by its members the “Artists Collective.” In 2011, Master Ologwagdi joined the group and became the engine of the movement. One day, while creating a canvas banner, he suggest to sign it as “El Kolectivo” with K as a tribute to his longtime friend and comrade-in-arms and art, the musician Kanser Ortega Santizo. Some of El Kolectivo´s murals include the phrase, “Kanser Was Here.”
In addition to murals, which are located throughout Panama, the collective also leads a series workshops and other public events that embrace art, social issues, culture, environment, creative writing, and community empowerment. As an interdisciplinary body of professionals, they have established platforms for a wide range of processes, methodologies and evaluation for each of the activities.
Throughout the years, the most accurate phrase to describe El Kolectivo´s horizontal philosophy of supportive and cooperative way of thinking and action is “No one is El Kolectivo, we all are El Kolectivo.”