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My Family Album - Pictures of exile through the eyes of the ones left behind

margarita valdivieso | Colombia

Colombia. x town. A newspaper clipping entitled "x city will not elect mayor”. this short news is the starting point of the story I want to tell, a town with a mayor dismissed for corruption and a newly elected candidate, my father, who has to fight a political battle to be legitimized as winner and mayor.

This project explores the experience of political violence in Colombia within my family history. The story develops around my father's political life, his campaign for mayor of a town, and the consequences of his political role for us as a family. 

In 2015 my papá crossed the Colombian border to flee from the political persecution he had been subjected to for decades. I remember him disappearing on different occasions when I was still a child. But then, my parents told me fairy tales that justified his absence. Four years ago, when he left Colombia, I was able to see how I and my family had been left in between civil war and my parent's dreams to live in a more equal society.  

The story of my father is the story of hundreds of social leaders that have been and are still being persecuted by the state, paramilitary or regional mafias in Colombia. Since the signing of the peace agreements in 2016, more than a thousand activists and social leaders have been killed throughout Colombia, and very rarely have those responsible been brought to justice. 


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