The gunpowder and the trail left behind by its ashes are materials forgotten by this series of images after combustion. If in photography is the impact of the light on the silver halides what produces the image, in this series they are the effect of fire on the powder grains what produce the shapes, so that an explosive material becomes the symbolic weight that releases the meaning.

In this work, the author starts from the behavior of some Colombian indigenous groups of Sierra Nevada, who among their steps try to follow their ancestors. These people cross long distances on foot in order to restore the balance lost in nature by the presence of the militia, an action that at the same time seeks to emphasize the territoriality they inhabit, a poetic and political act that together are the biggest achievement for any artistic practice. The Arhuacos, Koguis and Wiwas call this movement the ‘Black Line’.

Following Arhuaco mamos’ example, the artist traveled through several regions of Colombia where the harshness of violence that still persists were felt, reason why these trips were undertaken during the last peace agreements. These images come from photographs taken during the route, and have been altered in large format by the procedure of substitution of pixels by powder of grains, material that, once impregnated in the surface of the support, is later burned. The contradiction between the bucolic appearance of paradisiacal dyes and the fire with which they have been engraved evokes the emerging paradox from the analysis of the relationship between landscape, ecosystem and violence. Unexpectedly, the presence of armed actors protected certain Colombian ecological niches from the advance of progress; valleys and primary forests remind us of its natural state centuries ago. Nowadays this landscape has begun to be altered by the formal and informal mining. Eventually, the peace process will change the face of the landscape forever.

Tomás Ochoa

January 2017


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