C&AL: Museo La Tertulia regularly cooperates with the most vulnerable communities in Cali. Is this work a priority or central focus of the museum’s work?
Alejandro Martín: To provide a bit of context: Museo La Tertulia was founded sixty years ago, and exhibits modern and contemporary Colombian and Latin American art. The museum has always worked closely with local institutions and artists of the region. One part of the work we do as a museum, that has become very important, is the construction of a city and the concept of citizenship, in relation to communities. A recent project (August 2018) brought a collection of objects collected by the Museo Popular de Siloé, presenting its process of memory construction of Siloé, one of the most stigmatized neighborhoods of Cali.
In the Museo + Escuela (Museum + School) program, a program central to the educational work of the Museum, we work hand in hand with local artists and with the city’s public schools. For another project, Radiating Memories – Dialogues with the Carare (2017), we examine the history of the famous “Association of Rural Workers of Carare” (ATCC). During the violent 1980s, this organization established a dialogue between the involved parties of the armed conflict in the Carare region, department of Santander, seeking to create peace.
C&AL: Also, the voices of the victims of the Colombian armed conflict are frequently heard in the Museum, like it happened in 2018 with the project The Future of Memory – Road To The Sea (El futuro de la memoria – Carretera al mar), initiated and organized by the Goethe-Institut. Among other things, this project sought to examine the memory of violence in the Colombian Pacific area.
AM: The Goethe-Institut project Future of Memory arose in the context of the peace agreement between the government and the FARC guerrillas, and proposed meeting spaces between artists, movements and social leaders, in various larger Latin American cities. In Colombia, we are experiencing a very complex moment, in which the logic of territorial control is changing. Places from which the guerrillas have retreated are now going through a new struggle for control of the territory, and in many of these areas, leaders working on issues of land restitution are increasingly threatened by different armed groups that want to impose themselves. A frighteningly high number of these leaders have been killed.
In the Pacific, armed conflict, drug trafficking, and multiple violence all contribute to a long history of inequality and neglect on the part of the State.