Culture and art in the construction of the truth

The seminar was developed by representatives of the JEP, the Commission for Truth, FARC and AUC ex-combatants, academics, and artists.

The seminar “The role of art and culture in the construction of the truth” was initiated with a symbolic act: four young people from Medellín sang their issues relating to equality, post-conflict, victims, the relationship between agriculture and culture – among others – which got the audience singing and dancing.

The seminar,  organized by the Constitutional Law Department Cultural Rights: Law, Art, and Culture and the Commission for the Clarification of Truth, Peaceful Coexistence, and Non-Recurrence, featured special guests.  Among them, Father Francisco de Roux, President of the Commission for Truth; Gustavo Adolfo Salazar, Magistrate of the Special Jurisdiction For Peace (JEP); Brigadier General Javier Ayala, head of the National Army Integral Legal Department; Yolanda Sierra, Coordinator of the Constitutional Law Department Cultural Rights Group; FARC and AUC ex-combatants, artists, and academics.

Culture and art were the benchmarks for the conversation between Father Francisco de Roux, Judge Gustavo Salazar, and Yesid Reyes, director of the Externado University Centre for Research in Philosophy and Law,  who traced how from these two expressions, symbols have been created illustrating the links between victims and Colombian culture. They also stressed the importance of changing society’s mentality, increasing solidarity and from culture, restore the individuals’ dignity.

“We are the problem; there is a very deep problem we have not undertaken. It seems as though the murders of people of Chocó, indigenous, and peasants, do not touch us. What happened to us? What have we lost? “questioned Father de Roux.

For his part, Rector Juan Carlos Henao, in inaugurating the event, expressed his gratitude to the attendees and exalted the presence of Father de Roux who “has dedicated his life to fighting for the destitute and those who have suffered and been victims of the rash of violence experienced in the country.”

Also, to give greater context to the seminar, a roundtable was held, titled “The war we have not seen, through a pictorial process,” in which artists Juan Manuel Echavarría and Fernando Grisales talked with Farc and AUC ex-combatants artists and soldiers wounded in combat.

One of the noteworthy stories was the one of Henry, alias ‘Caliche,’ who told how he was drawn to the guerrillas and how due to his father’s mistreatment and abuse, was involved from a very young age with weapons and violence. He spoke of his work “Corazón” (Heart), which was part of the exhibition “The war we have not seen.” In a painting detailing streets, rivers, houses, trees, he tells an appalling event, an act of torture to a farmer on the outskirts of La Novia, Caquetá.

During the event, different conversation spaces took place, where artists and academics referred to the construction of the truth from international tribunals, cultural heritage, and the spoken word.

The event concluded with the play “Anunciando la ausencia” (Announcing the absence), performed by the group El Tente, comprised of women victims of the armed conflict in the Department of Meta, who, through this artistic expression, recount stories about their families’ forced disappearance.