BOGOTA – Colombian photojournalist Jesus Abad Colorado is set to open an exhibition on the history of Colombia’s armed conflict with 500 photographs spanning a period of 26 years.
The exhibition, entitled “The Witness,” will open to the public next Saturday at the Claustro de San Agustin Museum in downtown Bogota.
Colorado recommends that the exhibition be visited “with calm,” not only because of the large number of photographs but also because “this is a vision of what has happened in the country” in nearly three decades.
The exhibition includes several photographs of the 1998 Machuca massacre that took place in the northwestern department of Antioquia, where dozens of people were killed by the National Liberation Army (ELN) after the guerrilla group dynamited an oil pipeline, causing a fire to spread to the village.
“Many speak of 84 deaths. What is certain is that I found 35 burnt bodies that were placed in the church by the villagers,” Colorado said.
The exhibition’s curator, Maria Belen Saenz, said that the “The Witness” seeks to “put into context what was happening in those years, when displacements and massacres took place.”
According to Saenz, the exhibition was not created to explain the armed conflict, but simply to “provide a testimony” and to help visitors visualize what happened.
The curator said that the photographs do not seek to “sow hate,” but rather to “call for a reflection” on the Colombian conflict, “where the victims take center stage.”
Earlier this month, Colorado was presented with the 2018 Colombian National Photography Award, and he won the Simon Bolivar Prize for Journalism three times (2000, 2001 and 2003).
In 2006, he was bestowed the Caritas award in Switzerland as well as the CPJ International Press Freedom Award, which was the first time that the Committee to Protect Journalists presented its award to a photojournalist.