Juan Francisco Vargas Gómez

Compañeros(as) Tejiendo vida

I share these images of some Colombian landscapes, dawn in the snowy mountains, a sunset in the Carare rivers and mountains that have seen many leave by force and violence.

Places that hold memories of the horror of war, but also of courage, hope and tenacity.

Life stories seemingly disconnected by time and geography that we have woven with words and listening.

So similar in our own humanity, we share our fears and sorrows
but especially our strengths,
our temperance and our dignity.

In spite of what we have lived through, we have risen up
using our hearts and our hands to rebuild, to continue sowing hope and to dream again.

We discovered together that in spite of displacement and exile
there are immense things in us that can never be taken away from us the memory of what we are and the confidence of what we will be.

Just like the rivers and mountains  which we are from,
we continue to flow and intertwine our roots wherever we are.

Fragments of my life

I am a visual artist and also a victim of the armed conflict in Colombia.

My father died in a terrorist attack ordered by Pablo Escobar in 1989 when I was 11 years old. My siblings were small and that marked our lives. Despite this, my mother had the strength to carry on alone with four children. Her example and resilience was the driving force to overcome my father’s absence. As a child, I could not understand the context in which my father died, but with time you understand the complexities of the armed conflict.

When I was older I understood that my father had died as a result of the armed conflict fuelled by drug trafficking. A conflict that in the big cities only began to be felt as a result of terrorism in the 80s and 90s.

Despite not having lived through it directly, my mother’s resilience and strength marked my life and that of my siblings, so I share some of that story.

I found with the bicycle the way to move by my own means, to get anywhere, to change course at any time. Cycling is synonymous with freedom and when I ride a bike I feel that I am in control of my life.

These photos of the Simón Bolivar Park represent my emotions.

Places of tranquillity and contemplation to simply be.

Places to find inner strength, which in my case I also found in my mother’s life.