Country: Colombia

Liquid Tombs for Colombia’s Disappeared: Sounds and Images

Colombia has been a country with amnesia for a long time. The country has been at war—a social catastrophe since 1948, sparked by the murder of the revered liberal leader Jorge Eliécer Gaitán. Although his death took place in Bogotá, during the following 16 years Liberals and Conservatives waged a war mostly in the countryside that took 250,000 lives. …

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The Language of Public Memory: La Asociación Minga and the Authentic Image of the Victim

A green midsized Renault sedan sits on a ramp lifting the car´s open hood and revealing an engine stuffed with palm seeds. Entitled Renault 12, the piece is part of an exhibit Somos Tierra developed as a result of a large group dialogue. In a series of workshops that discussed the death of young taxi drivers, the arrival of the palm cultivation in the region, and massacres, the exhibit came into being …

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Historical Footprints: Changing How We Teach Colombia’s Violent Past

George Santayana’s well-known dictum, “Those who don’t remember the past are condemned to repeat it,” reminds us why it is important to learn history. But what does this really mean? What aspects of the past must we remember? Who chooses them? How do we remember them? Can this understanding really change our attitudes and behaviors? Are we truly capable of avoiding the mistakes of the past? …

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A New Museum for Independence: Renovating Memories

This is a very short story of how a small museum in Colombia underwent a profound process of change and renovation, tackling sensitive and controversial issues of memory in recent Colombian history. The independence of Colombia is celebrated every July 20, because on that day in 1810, a group of creoles (children of Spaniards born in America) started a fight with a Spaniard who refused to lend them a flower vase. …

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