CONEJO, Colombia – The entrance to the FARC’s 59th Front campsite, on the foothills of northern Colombia’s Serrania del Perija mountains, is framed by a sequence of 12 drawings that tell the raw story of violence in this country and the rise of that armed rebel group.
The drawings, printed on a blue banner, form part of a pictorial work by artist Inty-Maleywa, a guerrilla who prefers not to reveal her age but readily relates that she has been in the FARC for 14 years under the alias of “Malena Laverde.”
The artwork, entitled “Unearthing Memories,” visualizes the story of how peasants and workers fought in Colombia from the 1920s massacre of farm laborers on a banana plantation in Cienaga, Magdalena province, up to “the recent signing of a peace pact by the FARC and the government of President Juan Manuel Santos.”
Malena Laverde told EFE at her camp near the village of Conejo, La Guajira province, that the idea for her artwork arose from “the need to show a history – which has continuously been hidden or distorted – of all the struggles that have taken place in Colombia, the story of the workers, the story of the people.”
“I also wanted to show that the history of our country has often repeated itself, the history of conflict over the land, the history of the elite and the downtrodden, the history of resistance,” she added.
The process of this work, created to commemorate the 50 years since the FARC was founded, started “with some research based on photos and black-and-white videos” that she assembled, Laverde said, and a “study of texts” that provided the historical context and chronology of the events.
Laverde will continue painting and dreams that the coming decades of Colombian history will be less violent.
“Now we have the chance to exhibit all this work and show our history, our hopes and dreams,” and to paint “Colombia as a land of peace in a thousand colors,” she said.