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Memories of the Colombian Armed Conflict Through the Lens and Voice of Jesús Abad Colorado. Conversations with María Belén Sáez de Ibarra.

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4 rooms
+ 1.5 millon
visits per year
4 books
+ 1372 pages
+ 700 photographs


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Get the collection The Witness: Memories of the Colombian Armed Conflict Through the Lens and Voice of Jesús Abad Colorado. Conversations with María Belén Sáez de Ibarra.

In exchange for a minimal donation, you will be able to acquire the Collection and help the books continue to reach all the people who are the protagonists of these pages and travel back to the territories described in these stories, restoring their memory.

This editorial project is integrated by photos and texts from the exhibition The Witness: Memories of the Colombian Armed Conflict from the Lens and Voice of Jesús Abad Colorado, shown at Claustro San Agustín, of the Universidad Nacional de Colombia. The exhibition provided the guiding light upon which the four books are structured: Silent Land, There is no Shadow Unvanquished by Light, And Still I Rise, and I Lay My Hands on Yours. In this way, we aim to provide a memory told by those who have directly suffered the conflict in Colombia over the last thirty years, as a contribution to a plurality of visions to shape a history for peace and reconciliation.

Book 1

Silent Land

In times of violence, the world is broken not only because it is in ruins, but because all meaning is lost. One of the pictures in this book, Silent Land, portrays the broken mirror of war. Next to it, there is a picture of a crack in the floor, both images are symbols of what is taking place here, and they provide allegories that may help us interpret what we are trying to show. Piecing and welding together the pieces of that mirror is impossible, but we can see ourselves in it because that is the only way to maintain hope, to rebuild a sense of the world, to interrupt death, and to keep the ruins from multiplying forever.

— excerpt from the presentation "We Want To Understand" by María Belén Sáez de Ibarra

Book 3


In the tight weave of many years, tying together several generations, the crimes are revealed—most crimes against humanity—perpetrated against the population through the Colombian armed conflict’s extreme violence. This approximation shows our history, with all its dynamics. What does it mean to be present in this barbarity? For the violence to be present in thoughts and emotions, embodied in those people who experience it from the moment they rise until the sun sets on them again.

Book 2

There is No Shadow Unvanquished by Light

In this volume, There is No Shadow Unvanquished by Light, we have grouped photographs portraying mothers and families who seek a mourning process for their disappeared or kidnapped loved ones. This book is about the absence of those loved ones and the searching. It is also about the murder of human rights defenders and journalists.

Book 4

I Lay My Hands on Yours

I Lay My Hands On Yours, is about these people who resist and who offer their very existence to keep clear the road which changes the course of history. It is also about their children, whose stolen childhood we should restore, and it is about the end of the war against the FARC and other groups. Also, it speaks to the conflict’s persistence, even as it reignites, and relishes cruelty against the sources of life.

Published by
Dirección de Patrimonio Cultural
Universidad Nacional de Colombia


Photography by Jesús Abad Colorado
Curated and edited by María Belén Sáez de Ibarra

Thanks to the support of

Photographic production

Fan Lab. Taller de producción artística

Editorial coordination

Viviana Marsiglia


Kathleen Nygard


Administrative support

Dora Rodríguez, Martha Rugeles

Visit the open exhibition at the Claustro de San Agustín

Dirección de Patrimonio Cultural
Vicerrectoría de Sede
Sede Bogotá

Claustro de San Agustín UNAL
Museo de Arte UNAL
Auditorio León de Greiff UNAL