Transforming memories of war into memories of peace: Imagine Peace- Belfast #Good Relations Week 2018

This is the first part of a longer and more intimate blog about our experience in Belfast, so keep you eyes opened for the next part!

But for now, I will share this amazing deeply written with so much care article by Allan LEONARD for Shared Future News. READ the whole article here:

Imagine Peace: An exhibition that emphasises the power of photography as a tool to create a culture of hope to reach what they have been longing for: to live in peace. We were so honoured and thrilled to be invited to exhibited at the established and renown gallery Belfast Exposed alongside recognised international photographers but most of all, in the home of the archive of the Troubles that the gallery hosts. It was formed 30 years by activist photographers as collaborative project to create an archive of the conflict. We were invited as part of Good Relations Week, myself and Antonio Amador with our Colombian peacebuilding subjects to show a retrospection of 2 years of work showing both our individual and collaborative efforts, in several sections.

What is Imagine Peace?

As Patricia says, inspire by Yoko Ono, “We – Colombians – need to leave behind that habit of thinking about our country in terms of war. We will need to use the best of our imagination to build a country in peace”

 ©AntonioAmador_  Zapato performance for the killings of social leaders in Colombia_Barcelona  2018

©AntonioAmador_ Zapato performance for the killings of social leaders in Colombia_Barcelona 2018

Our project emerged from the urgency to witness and accompany various peace initiatives led by civil society: collectives such as Paz a la Calle and Imaginarios Desarmados, community leaders, ex-combattants, victims and their families, human rights defenders, activists, artists, students, trade unions, women groups, indigenous, afro-descendants and the rural sector among others.

As Northern Ireland celebrates 20 years of its peace agreement, Colombia is currently experiencing one of the most significant peace processes in the world, both in terms of the conflict duration and the extent of violence suffered by its people. This historical moment is giving Colombia the opportunity to start building a collective memory of a country in peace and addressing the legacies of its violent past while achieving change in mentality and consciousness of its society. Colombia is now facing two very distinctive realities: the awakening of its people who, for the first time in history, had a left-wing, ex-combattant president candidate in the second round of the presidential election last June, while the of killings of community leaders dramatically carry on, leaving a divided but engaged and committed civil society. How we, Colombians and Irish can learn from each other's experiences and challenges and create sustainable lasting peace and reconciliation?

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Our artistic collaboration started in Barcelona with the Truth, Memory and Reconciliation Commission of Colombian Women in the Diaspora (TMRC) supported by Conciliation Resources, an independent peacebuilding organization. This led them to work with other collectives such as Paz a la calle and The Collective of Colombian Exiled, Migrants and Refugee Women of Spain in the frame of the participatory project “Cuerpos Gramaticales”, a public sowing of women as a symbolic act of healing, organised by the International Catalan Institute for Peace (ICIP) and Agroarte, a local based organisation from Medellin in which the two women’s collectives took part.

Both feminist initiatives work with the Colombian women's diaspora to visibilize their voices and role in the peace process and in the construction of the historical memory of Colombia towards women’s empowerment, integration in their host countries, reconciliation, healing and justice.

The magics of life

Antonio was Helga’s favourite student when in Colombia 20 years, Helga is the founder of the Truth, Memory and Reconciliation Commission of Colombian Women in the Diaspora (TMRC) and the angle to opened me the door to new horizons. We met and never stopped working together since then! He gave up his fashion photography to focus on what he is passion about: People,Activism, Feminism, Colombia, Peace, Stories and Change. He gave me an overdosis of creativity and influenced my photography practice.

 Chlorophylle printing of Luz Marina Bernal from the Mothers of Soacha

Chlorophylle printing of Luz Marina Bernal from the Mothers of Soacha

He is Colombian, I am not Colombia, but we are both migrants living in Europe.We both have a passion for experimenting and discovering new ways of presenting images.

This combination has been the most fruitful creative and artistic collaboration in terms of representing our subjects and the subject matter in an objective, neutral but quite direct, honest and activist way as it generates long hours of debate, analysis, agreeing and disagreeing, choosing the right word, the right sentence, the right image, colour or black and white, discuss how the image would impact on the women we represent, do we show it or not? How do we talk about the conflict and about peace?

 Selection of personal objects and memories from the women of the  Truth, Memory and Reconciliation Commission of Colombian Women in the Diaspora (TMRC)

Selection of personal objects and memories from the women of the Truth, Memory and Reconciliation Commission of Colombian Women in the Diaspora (TMRC)

How did we end up in Belfast?

Beyond Skin, a NGO using art for peacebuilding in Northern Ireland invited us as part of the #FUTyoURES creative Peace programme aimed at developing a shared creative model for conflict transformation in Colombia & Northern Ireland. At the heart of the project are the Arts affirming the synergy between People and the Natural Environment around them. The #FUTyoURES programme is the collaborative brainchild of the organisations Beyond Skin (Northern Ireland) & Escuelas de Paz (Colombia).  The focus of the project delivery is in Arauca & Soacha (Colombia) and Belfast, Craigavon, Keady & Cookstown (Northern Ireland).

It’s happening? No it is not happening. And yet, there is something that is to come. In the wait, any arrival contains and abandons.

So is it happening? Yes it is happening and it has come already.”

Maurice Blanchot

My latest documentary (in Spanish only) 'La sembra de la vida. Cuerpos Gramaticales Barcelona

I have worked in many places, with many communities and issues but I have to say that this latest work is by far the most rewarding and satisfactory and a real learning and healing process too. It has certainly been the hardest, the one I spent the more time thinking carefully about every single details, words, images. We were given the responsibility to document, portray and represent a very difficult healing process of Colombian women living in Spain. How could we represent fairly and with dignity 35 women who all come from different paths of life, who all have experienced Colombia in their own way, who all come from different regions? It tooks us 9 months but we did it. 'The love care and sensibility you took in capturing our stories is priceless.'

Thank you Amador Camargo for this wonderful collaboration. Thank you Maria Fanlo, ICIP and all the women for trusting us in representing this delicate healing and reconciliation process, and Helga Flamtermsky for teaching us so much.

 Exhibition still open until 27th April 2018 at Centro Cívico Barceloneta, Barcelona. 

Exhibition still open until 27th April 2018 at Centro Cívico Barceloneta, Barcelona. 

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Participatory Photography for peacebuilding in Bogota

I represented Fotosynthesis using #ParticipatoryPhotography for #peacebuilding, empathy,  and dialogues at Build Peace in Bogota, #colombia. 50 people attended our bilingual workshop, from young Colombian indigenous leaders to International NGO representatives!

Thank you, our biggest workshop ever!

'Photography is a non violent, passive and universal language. It could help bringing people that can not have a conversation without fighting in the same room in a peaceful way'

'I had a blast making friends, getting weird, and being creative in the participatory photography #workshop on day three of the #BuildPeace2017 conference. Eventhough I was the only English speaker in my group, we all worked together and understood each other', Zach

La senda de la marimba / The marimba journey

En un cacerío de Timbiquí, Cauca, Colombia - 2018

Hace más 4 décadas don Adriano descubrió que los sagrados, cóncavos y convexos sonidos del Pacífico estaban dentro de él, mucho antes de hacer su primera marimba de chonta tradicional......

4 decades ago don Adriano discovered the sacred concave and convex sounds of the Pacific that were part of him way before he made his first traditional marimba de chonta.......

Work in progress.......documentary on its way.


Been interviewed for the London College of Communication newspaper- SAVING LONDON’S LATIN QUARTER

"Elephant & Castle is home to the biggest Latin American community in London. This area became the main meeting point for Latin Americans from the early 1990s. During those years, the area, though very central, was neglected due to an ongoing economic crisis. The Latin Americans moved there because of the cheap rents and the affordable possibilities to set up businesses. Throughout time, the community has grown biggerand stronger. In fact, according to the charity Latin Elephant, the Latin American community in Southwark now consists of 8.9 per cent of the population in the borough."

Launch of Colombian UK Lawyer Caravana 2016


What does this mean for justice for the millions of victims and survivors of the 50 year-old civil war? 
What can UK lawyers do?  Would you like to join this year’s delegation to Colombia?

The Colombian Caravana UK Lawyers Group is a group of international lawyers that monitor the human rights abuses faced by legal professionals in Colombia. There are preparing a new mission for this August 2016 and they need your support. Donations, knowledge in human rights law, peace process, journalism, communication, interpreters and more.

Members of the group first visited Colombia in 2008 at the invitation of the Association of Defence Lawyers “Eduardo Umaña Mendoza” (Asociación colombiana de abogados defensores “Eduardo Umaña Mendoza”, ACADEUM) which is an umbrella organisation for Colombian human rights lawyers. ACADEUM had issued a call for an international delegation of jurists – the International Caravana of Lawyers (Caravana) – to visit several regions of the country to meet lawyers and to receive testimony from human rights defenders at risk. 51 lawyers and legal professionals from Europe, Canada and Latin America joined the mission and their report No Justice Without Lawyers, can be viewed on the Delegations page

After the first International Caravana of Lawyers mission, a number of the delegates returned to the UK and established the Colombian Caravana UK Lawyers Group. The organisation was incorporated as a company in 2010 and achieved charity status in 2011.

See the reports :

“Africa’s Last Colony” exhibition

Featured in the Wall Street  International Newspaper for the Hundred Years Gallery, Oct 15th to 28th

Sandblast is excited to have received support from Arts Council England to mark 40 years of conflict in Western Sahara with a series of collaborative events  at two vibrant London venues, Bolivar Hall (Venezuelan embassy) and Hundred Years Gallery.

Through photography, film, music and much more, Africa’s Last Colony aims to remember the most important events that have shaped the independence struggle of the Saharawi people of Western Sahara, as well as to showcase the valuable role of UK-based artists and activists in raising awareness of this underreported issue.

General Gallery and Cafe Hours: Wed-Fri, 10am-6pm; Sat, 4-11pm; Sun, 12-7pm.

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All events free (invitation needed for Private View on Oct 15th)

*UK Photographers in exhibition on Western Sahara:  Matt Aslett, Emma Brown, Andy Coules, Steve Franck, Vanessa Galbraith, Alan Gignoux, Carolina Graterol, Robert Griffin, Ingrid Guyon, Ed Harriman, Nilu Izadi, Tomasz Laczny, Olivia Mann, Ali Meziane, Danielle Smith, Simon Thorpe, Quintina Valero. Saharawi artists: photography by Omar Dih, Najla Mohamed, Hajtna Did; calligraphy by Mohamed Suleiman, drawings by Saharawi children courtesy of Enfants Refugés du Monde.

9 photographers share the things they wished they had known at the start of their photographic career

Great website run by photographer Chris King:

Don’t miss out on the other 11 articles in this series – sign up to the DPR newsletter to be informed of newly published articles and podcasts twice a month – SIGN UP HERE TO STAY INFORMED!

Latin Quarter documentary at the Tate Modern, 5th October

A short film exploring the significance of the Latin American community in the Elephant and Castle will be shown at the Tate Modern on 5th October 2015 :

This documentary has been made with Latin Elephant, Silvia Juliana Rothlisberger and some of my footage too!

 Oscar , Colombian baker from La Calenita bakery, Eagles Yard, Arch 143, Elephant and Castle-©ingridguyon2015

Oscar , Colombian baker from La Calenita bakery, Eagles Yard, Arch 143, Elephant and Castle-©ingridguyon2015

Elephant and Castle is going through the biggest regeneration in Europe and the local business who have been made what Elephant and Castle is nowadays since the 1990's are facing danger of relocation and explosion of the community cohesion.

Check Latin Elephant's work to support the Latin American Inclusion in the regeneration process. 

Migrant Workers in Dominican Republic, Most of Them Haitian, Face Deportation

Hundreds of thousands of migrant workers are facing deportation from the Dominican Republic, the latest in a series of actions by the government that has cast a light on the long-troubled relationship with its Haitian neighbours. Read more here:

Update (in Spanish ) of UNICEF education campaign in the Dominican Republic

Contruye su Future raised 400 000 euros with Orange's campaign of recycling phones allowing to work with 120 000 children form primary schools, 100 000 children aged 0-5, 4000 teachers, 400 directors of education centres and 200 parents associations

I Am A Migrant And Proud To Be A Migrant

#MigrantsContribute is a grassroots campaign led by a coalition of 67 migrant-led organisations. It aims to demonstrate the positive contribution that migrant communities make to British life and to counteract the negative stereotyping of migrant communities that is frequently seen in public debates.

"I am a citizen of the world. I am a migrant and proud to be a migrant. I live with migrants and work with migrants. If you look at history, we are all migrants. Why do we need to be labelled and judged depending on where we are from or even what we do?"

"We all contribute to British society by paying taxes, working, volunteering, and by bringing knowledge, skills and culture. What would London look like without migrant communities? Can you picture it? I can’t."

Read my story in Migrant Voices!:

Migrant Contribute: Latin Elephant

Join us on 28 March 2015 at Elephant and Castle shopping centre to celebrate the contribution that Latin Americans make to British Society Latin Elephant

#MigrantsContribute provides a platform for migrants from all generations and walks of life to speak out about our real lives and stories.

London’s Latin Quarter is Here!

Our Latin Quarter Workshop on 19 November gathered Latin American retailers and organisations from Elephant and Castle with representatives from Southwark Council, Delancey and Lend Lease to discuss ideas about how Elephant and Castle can continue to be a Latin quarter after the regeneration process.

Bola 8 and Distriandina business owner discussing the future of Elephant and Castle

Using as starting point the fact that Elephant and Castle already is a Latin Quarter, the workshop explored ideas so that the Latin Quarter is not lost as a result of the regeneration process and transcend from the Latin American community to attract tourists and British customers.

For more information: