Painting for life

4 Mar 2019

Painting for life

In the Territorial Area for Training and Reintegration of Carrizal, in the municipality of Remedios, Antioquia, community and former Farc-ep combatants paint about peace and protection of the environment.

Photo gallery 

Several hands painted a wall regarding the impact of pollution on natural resources, and as an act of defense of life in the countryside, in the Territorial Area for ​​Training and Reincorporation of Carrizal, in Remedios.

For the last two years, the walls of the Territorial Area for ​​Training and Reintegration (TATR) of Carrizal, located in the municipality of Remedios, in the northeast of Antioquia, are different every day. At the beginning of the peace process, the former FARC-EP guerrillas chose to capture on them images of their past. But today are open to muralism so that both, people in reintegration process and members of the community can paint their ideas.

This enthusiasm inspired the realization of a day of muralism with the theme of peace and environment. Boys and girls of the local community as well as the children and relatives of the former combatants took their paintbrushes and drew the contrast between a polluted river and nature full of life. To them, the hands of community leaders, police officers and soldiers were joined.

Guided by the artist Saúl Pérez - a young man who travels the Magdalena Medio Region painting murals and sending messages on the defense of the jaguar, the rivers and the botanical species of the region - the participants painted one of the walls of the TATR.

"Environmental issues have moved me for a long time. It goes hand in hand with peacebuilding. Through painting, we want to link children and young people to art as a means of reconciliation" affirms Pérez.

They began to draw the work with a lot of gray color to simulated a polluted river and it ended up alive, full of colors like "nature in peace," as one of the children explained.

"It is like taking care of the environment, not damaging anything and not killing animals like the jaguar that is in danger of extinction. It's like looking at the good and the bad. It's like being in peace and not fighting," added Juan David Quintero, a 12 years old boy who participated of the activity with his mother.

The event was named "Painting peace. Reconciliation with the environment". Despite the midday sun, the participants contributed with their outstanding energy to finish the work in a playful afternoon, of silence, concentration but also full of smiles.

The kids getting ready for the painting activity in the TATR

Since last year, this TATR has been developing a tree planting program in which more than 7,000 seedlings have already been planted, with the support of the Remedios Mayor's Office. The objective of this painting activity was to continue and contribute to this initiative.

"We started with the campaign "Plant your tree for peace" and the recovery of environments harmed by mining and livestock. Today, we continue working with art to motivate these young people who look for opportunities away from conflict. We hope they are not forced to follow the path we once followed. Hopefully they will strengthen their will to peace and reconciliation through these kind of activities" said Gustavo Adolfo Palacios, former combatant of the Farc's Magdalena Medio Block. 

Entry wall to the TATR Carrizal, northeast of Antioquia.

Paola Arévalo, president of the Carrizal Community Action Board, described this activity as a means to promote peace. "We are observing how the community and the former combatants have been working together in the recovery of nature and that sends a strong message. Now, this activity also strengthens relations to build peace" she said.

The UN Verification Mission in Colombia accompanied the development of this activity at this TATR where the reintegration of former combatants takes place.

Frida was painted by a woman Farc's ex-combatant in one of the meeting rooms of the Carrizal TATR.

Elizabeth Yarce, Public Information Officer, Medellín.
United Nations Verification Mission