See Doris Salcedo’s Vast New Installation Paying Tribute to Victims of Colombia’s Civil War

The poignant statement comes on the cusp of the country's failed peace referendum.

Doris Salcedo. Photo by David Heald, courtesy White Cube.
Doris Salcedo. Photo by David Heald, courtesy White Cube.

A major artwork created by Colombian artist Doris Salcedo, with the help of dozens of volunteers, was unveiled in Plaza Bolivar in Bogotá, Colombia yesterday (October 11), paying homage to a fraction of the hundreds of thousands of victims of the country’s decades-old civil war. Photos of the work are available through the Instagram account of her London gallery, White Cube.

The 23,000-foot work, titled Sumando Ausencias (which translates to Counting the Absences), covers the plaza’s main square, giving the plaza the appearance of being blanketed in snow. The installation follows the country’s surprising vote to reject a peace deal with the its largest rebel group (FARC). The peace accord entailed four years of negotiation between the Colombian government and Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, leaving leaders scrambling and making the future more uncertain as the end of a cease fire looms.

Salcedo is well-known for addressing routine political violence in her native country with sculptures that are beautiful and painstaking even as they address horrific acts.

The work was stitched together by volunteers.“The names are poorly written, almost erased, because we are already forgetting these violent deaths,” Salcedo told The Art Newspaper.

TAN reports that the work was created in collaboration with the Museo de la Universidad Nacional Bogotá and will remain on show “for a short period of time only.”

Footage of volunteers working on the monumental piece can be seen in this video from Colombian newspaper El Tiempo:


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