Reconciliation and Graffiti in Medellín

Reconciliation and Graffiti in Medellín

Beth Fisher-Yoshida

For the past 5.5 years I have been working with colleagues and youth and community leaders in Medellín, Colombia. We introduced CMM as a way for them to capture their narratives and the stories they have about their experiences with violence, displacement and hope for brighter futures. CMM resonates so well with them because it gives them chances to look at their lives from different perspectives and transform their stories.

They have been creative in how they have visualized their stories using daisy and serpentine models, for example, and I have been awed by what surfaces in how they tell their stories. Recently, when I visited in October, I was especially moved by a process led by an inspiring youth leader, Wilmar Andrés Martinez Valencia (Wilmar). He worked with community members asking them to use the serpentine model and identify critical moment of reconciliation they experienced. He wants to move people forward into better futures letting go of past injustices.

After this was done, he invited graffiti artists to work with these community members, hear their stories, and then depict what they described visually. It resulted in this beautiful mural that graces the front wall of the Museum of Memory in Medellín. It took me by surprise because I was not aware all of this was taking place. Change takes time and perseverance and great things can happen when you are not looking.

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