Escenario

The Performance Space  at A Museum for Me is a platform of creative expression, where exiles, artists, friends and supporters bring us closer to the lives and stories of others through myriad artistic and musical forms. These imaginative and sensitive acts of engagement with memory and representation communicate truths otherwise difficult to articulate, or indeed to process, bring to life the persona and humanity of victims,  and lend visibility and voice to the invisibilised and silenced.

30 de agosto Dia Internacional de las Víctimas de Desapariciones Forzadas

Buscando a Marino / Searching for Marino

London-based dance and physical theatre ensemble

SOMOS CHIBCHAS

present a special production on the theme of forced disappearances

Inspirado en la historia de Elisabeth Santander quien lleva 33 años en la búsqueda de su esposo Marino Escobar Aroca, desaparecido el 22 de enero de 1987

Inspired by the story of Elisabeth Santander who has 33 years searching for her husband Marino Escobar Aroca, who was disappeared on 22nd January 1987

Para escuchar a Elisabeth Santander hablando en directo de la desaparición su marido, su búsqueda y su exilio, pasen al Listening Space

You can listen to Elisabeth speaking in person about the disappearance of her husband, her search, and her experience of exile in the UK in the Listening Space

Somos Chibchas: Mi País

Mi País fuses traditional and contemporary music, dance and physical theatre, to communicate stories of forced displacement. This public performance of Mi Pais was recorded live in the UK

Somos Chibchas: Our Heritage

An extraordinary, inter-disciplinary theatrical dance production, set on the Pacific coast of Colombia, telling a story of love and breaking free. Filmed live at Tate Modern, featuring Vane MG & Tahaty

Our Heritage highlights the importance of African roots in Colombian culture, and instrumentalises this cultural and ancestral legacy to generate a sense of belonging. Through these dances, the history, beliefs and cultural expressions of the Afro-Colombian community, which have shaped the culture of the Colombian Pacific region, are highlighted, at a time when these have been severely violated by illegal groups, by racism and state indifference.

Our Heritage was written and directed by Somos Chibchas director Deny Ruge, who invited dancers Tahaty and Nathan Bartman, and visual artist Vane MG, to collaborate in a special production for the Tate Exchange event at Tate Modern in 2019, which explored stories of cultural movement and migration.

Read more here about Somos Chibchas and Our Heritage

Lives touching lives...

Recorded during lockdown for Refugee Week 2020 at  a Museum for Me, Hada Candelaria presents this profound and uplifting short film that showcases and documents the inspiration and evolution of their iconic multimedia production, #MeSalvé (I survived).

#MeSalvé

#MeSalvé, written by London-based Colombian poet Angélica Quintero, captures and communicates the real-life story of Rosita (Rosa Gómez), a Colombian refugee who in 2010 was heavily wounded in a targeted attack in Barranquilla (Colombia). Rosita has courageously re-emerged to continue her life and human rights work in London, and in 2019, gave public testimony of her story and the attack to the Truth Commission in an event organised by Diaspora Woman in London. Today, Rosita is a Labour Councillor for the electoral ward of Churchfields.

The power and spirit of Rosita’s life and testimony is beautifully expressed in lyrical form by Quintero; at the same time, engagement with the depth and meaning of the narrative is enhanced by its interpretation in dance by Tahaty (London-based Colombian dancer Tatiana Gómez), and the musical and visual creativity of Hada Candelaria. In the film’s moving finale, we meet Rosita, and are left to reflect on the profound impact one life, one story, one act, can have on so many others.

Me Salvé has been created to honour victims of the Colombian armed conflict and will be given as testimony to the Truth Commission.  Hada Candelaria is part of an exciting and diverse grassroots movement generating cultural momentum in support of the work of the Colombian Truth Commission, from positions of independence of affiliation.

Me salvé

Dedicado a Rosa Gómez (Rosita)

Me salvé del atentado
Me salvé de la muerte que cargaban los seis impactos de bala que recibió el automóvil en el que viajaba
Me salvé de los cuatro proyectiles de ocho milímetros que atravesaron mi cuerpo y dejaron solo agua en mis venas
Me salvé de la advertencia que recibí, leí, no entendí y olvidé en el fondo de mi cartera: “La van a matar”
Me salvé en una esquina de la ciudad que me vio nacer y a la que regresé después de treinta y tres años de ausencia
Me salvé en el abrazo de un hombre que al reconocer a su madre en mi cuerpo sangrante, tomó mi vida en sus manos

Me salvé

Me salvé para desafiar con ahínco la discapacidad que me impuso esta guerra de la que me niego a ser víctima
Me salvé para reconstruir los sueños que se esfumaron al vivir en carne propia el dolor que presencié en tantos otros
Me salvé para seguir siendo la voz de aquellos que han sido silenciados y condenados al exilio
Me salvé para seguir amando a mis hijos por quienes abro mis ojos cada mañana
Me salvé para contar hoy esta historia de amor, que se resistió a morir

Me salvé


I survived

Dedicated to Rosa Gómez (Rosita)

I survived from the attack
I survived from certain death loaded in the six rounds fired at the car I was travelling in
I survived from the four eight-millimetre bullets that passed through my body and left only water in my veins
I survived from the warning I received, read, did not understand, and left at the bottom of my purse: “You will be killed”
I survived in a corner of the city of my birth, to which I returned after a thirty-three-year absence
I survived in the embrace of a man who saw his mother in my bleeding body and took my life in his hands

I survived

I survived to defy with my heart and soul the disability forced upon me by a war that I refuse to be a victim of
I survived to rebuild the dreams that vanished when I experienced at first hand the pain I witnessed in so many others
I survived to be the voice of those who have been silenced and condemned to exile
I survived to continue loving my children, for whom I open my eyes every morning
I survived to share this love story, which refused to die

I survived


Translated into English by Dr Cherilyn Elston, Lecturer In Latin American Cultural Studies at the University of Reading. 

Angelica Quintero

Angélica Quintero is a Colombian poet living in the UK. As a theatre producer and consultant, Angélica began feeling that poetry could and should be interpreted and expressed through other art forms – what Angélica refers to as an ensemble of poetry. In particular, Angélica envisioned how testimonies of exiles from the Colombian armed conflict, collected by the Diaspora Woman network, could be transformed into poetry, and expressed through diverse artistic practice.

Angélica created the Poetry in Ensemble project, inviting four fellow artists to re-create her poem I survived (#Me Salvé) in dance, music, painting and audio-visual form; and set up the Hada Candelaria  platform to showcase such multidisciplinary work.

#MeSalvé es una producción del Hada Candelaria y los 5 artistas involucrados – Tahaty; Vane MG; Felipe Arévalo; Nomi Corina; & Angélica Quintero – Esta pieza artística se hace para la Comisión de la Verdad pero no se gesta dentro de ella, no pertenecemos a ninguna organización, somos 100% independientes. 

Hada Candelaria: Poetry in Ensemble

Tahaty (Tatiana Gómez)

Dancer creating moving performances that combine Colombian folklore, contemporary dance, and ancient dance forms from Eastern traditions, creating inter-cultural, multi-media forms of expression and communication. Tahaty discusses the role of culture and the arts as testimony and memory in A Museum for Me Roundtable on Memory, Victims and Representation in the Discussion Space.

Felipe Arévalo, musician and music producer, has created this moving piece which combines Colombian folk instruments with more traditional instruments from the West  

Vane MG (Vanessa Moncayo), designer and street artist, experimented several paintings on fabric to transform Tahaty’s Cumbia skirt into a colourful representation of Rosa’s journey to life in #MeSalvé 

Nomi Corina, Nomi Corina, videographer and video editor, captures the sentiments and references in the poem by exploring different textures, colours and angles

Related videos

Me SalvéReading rehearsal
Watch and listen to Angélica Quintero rehearsing with Mexican actress Mariana Gonzalez Garcia before recording the poem at Old Street Studios

Me Salvé – Skirt Painting  Street Artist Vane MG painting the skirt used by Tahaty for the performance of Me Salvé

Me Salvé – Choreography rehearsal         Dancer Tahaty rehearsing #MeSalvé with Fernando Montaño (a Colombian Soloist of The Royal Ballet) and Somos Chibchas

Lockdown #MeSalvé

Created in response to the UK lockdown, this video shares the component parts of the ensemble as we progressed towards editing the final version  Follow Hada Candelaria at hadacandelaria.com/

Ella y Ellas / Her and the Women, by Angélica Quintero

Ella y Ellas is a work of creation and curation by Quintero, marrying poetic text with images of  Mujer Diaspora / Diaspora Woman. Inspired by the women’s work supporting refugees and exiles from the armed conflict in Colombia, Quintero’s multi-media text functions both as  contribution and as recognition of the capacity of ordinary women for creative solidarity.

Ella y Ellas

Una de ellas cocina lo que a ella le gusta, la comida de la región de donde viene, del lugar en donde nació, la que tiene el sabor de su gente; de su tierra, la que le recuerda su casa, la mesa del comedor, los platos para la visita y la silla chueca.

Hoy en la distancia, la remembranza será parte de un ritual que las sanará, no solo a ella sino a todas, que fortalecerá esos lazos de poder femenino que las une, que las ha hecho fuertes, que afianza su intuición y su poder de luna.

Las otras empiezan a llegar, van directo a la cocina, empiezan a reunirse alrededor del fogón, de las ollas llenas, de la gritería y de la euforia. Son ellas, las que han vivido historias como la suya y las que no lo han hecho también.

Hay que agrandar el comedor para que quepan todas. Hay que traer más sillas y más mesas. También el parlante para que la música se escuche más fuerte, para que no falte el baile en esta fiesta de amor uterino.

La comida está finalmente lista, el aroma anticipa un festín como ningún otro. Ella comparte la mesa con todas y cada una la va amando en cada bocado. Ella está en cada una, en sus pensamientos y en sus miradas. Allí frente a ellas y también dentro de ellas.

La energía se va transformado, el calor de la estufa está ahora en la piel de cada una. Ella ya no está sola, cada una va tomando un poco de su dolor, de su historia, de su pasado. Ellas van recobrando la fuerza juntas, al mismo tiempo, al unísono.

El almuerzo termina, es hora del café y de hablar. Su corazón palpita, no sabe por dónde empezar, no sabe si podrá hablar de ello, nunca le ha sido fácil. Se pregunta si valdrá la pena, por qué volver a recordarlo. Para qué dejar que el sabor amargo de aquello que pasó, invada de nuevo su boca ahora cuando saborea los placeres culinarios de su tierra.

Lo que ella está aún por entender, es que ellas ya conocen parte de su historia, ellas la han sentido, la han vivido. Justo allí, en la francachela que esa tarde juntas han formado. Justo hoy, mientras ellas se unen a sus recuerdos, mientras ellas la ayudan a regresar a su hogar desde el destierro.

De pronto siente la solidaridad del útero, de la sangre que da vida, que acuna, que alimenta. Las palabras brotan como el agua, no es necesario decirlo todo, los detalles no hacen falta, la intuición en ellas lo sabe todo.

Hay lágrimas y también sonrisas, es un ritual de sanación que apenas empieza, que no terminará al final de la tarde, que se prolongará hasta que otras ocupen esa mesa. Ellas, todas, cargan el dolor de todas, no para perpetuarlo sino para curarlo, para convertirlo en fuerza vital para la siguiente que vendrá.

The Winnipeg: The Poem that Crossed the Atlantic

The Winnipeg, El Barco de la esperanza : El Poema que cruzó el Atlántico, 2017

To commemorate Refugee Week, celebrated media artist and pioneer in digital poetry, María Mencía, invites  A Museum for Me visitors to collaborate in her latest project: The Winnipeg: The Poem that Crossed the Atlantic

This unique multi-linguistic and interactive online poetic narrative (runner-up, Robert Coover Award for a Work of Electronic Literature, 2018), continually transforms as new stories are uploaded.  Mencía‘s original inspiration was her own family’s story, rooted in the Spanish Civil War and Chilean Historical Memory, and interconnected with the involvement of Chilean poet Pablo Neruda in the rescue of 2,200 Spanish civil war exiles- including her own grandfather- from French concentration camps, and their evacuation in 1939 to Valparaiso, Chile, aboard the Winnipeg.

Come and participate in this unique, artistic, practice-based investigation into migration, by adding your story to The Winnipeg: The Poem that Crossed the Atlantic

El objetivo de esta investigación creativa e interdisciplinaria ha sido crear una narrativa poética multilingüe e interactiva. El poema se alimenta de los relatos añadidos en la página web (arriba) y el enlace entre los relatos aumentará con el número de entradas. La principal inspiración tiene su origen en una historia personal que está, por un lado, arraigada en los acontecimientos históricos de la Guerra Civil Española, así como en la Memoria Histórica Española y Chilena y, por otro, vinculada a la intervención del poeta chileno Pablo Neruda en la evacuación y en el rescate de 2.200 exiliados españoles de los campos de concentración franceses – entre los que se encontraba mi abuelo- y que en 1939, a bordo de la nave Winnipeg, emprendían un viaje a Valparaíso (Chile).

María Mencía is a co-researcher on the AHRC funded research project Memory, Victims and Representation of the Colombian Conflict, led by Prof Claire Taylor of the University of Liverpool. She is also Course Leader of the BA in Media and Communication at the Kingston School of Art Faculty of Kingston University; Executive Member of the Electronic Literature Organization Board of Directors (ELO) and book editor for the “Electronic Literature” series with ELO-Bloomsbury Press

Connected Memories

Connected Memories is an interactive piece, which consists of a series of extracts from interviews of refugees living in London and the connection between them. They are compiled in a database and linked by common key words. To represent the fractured realities and the formations of connected memories, the viewers need to interact with the piece by clicking on the coloured activated ‘common keywords’ in order to generate extracts of narrations from the different participating refugees. The installation includes a microphone to invite the viewers to read aloud and share with other viewers the experience of performing the work through their reading.

Diáspora Woman: putting our lives centre stage

The energy, solidarity, commitment and creativity of Mujer Diáspora / Diaspora Woman is an inspiration to anyone concerned with justice, peace, and solidarity with exiles and refugees from conflict, whatever your role or nationality.

Celebremos la creatividad de Mujer Diáspora y sus décadas de compromiso a la paz, a la verdad, y a la solidaridad entre refugiados y exiliados.

♀ Diáspora Woman is ……

This wonderful slideshow, compiled by Ingrid Guyón especially for A Museum for Me, introduces us to Diaspora Woman

♀ Diáspora Woman is …… in our own words

♀ Diáspora Woman is ... Breaking the Silence

Directed by Ingrid Guyón                Edited by Miguel Amortegui (London 2016)

Mujer Diáspora have played an historic role in the current peace processes in Colombia, by laying the foundations, from outside the country, of how a truth commission with international reach can clarify truths and recognise the lived experiences of victims and refugees of the armed conflict. Mujer Diáspora’s  model of community networking and support has helped establish ‘nodos’ or hubs around the world where exiles and refugees can be supported to give testimony, in whichever form best facilitates processes of truth-telling and healing.

♀ Diáspora Woman is … Transforming Memories

Transformando Memorias, edited and produced by Ingrid Guyón (2019, Barcelona)​

In this uplifting film, the inextricable relationship of exiles and refugees in the UK and Europe, to emergent peace processes and the Colombian Truth Commission, is illustrated through the life-affirming, collective power of Mujer Diáspora

♀ Diáspora Woman is … Exile ... Acknowledgement .... Truth

Amparo Restrepo aborda tres temas que son claves para Un Museo Para Mi, para La Comisión de la Verdad, y para la vida de  Mujer Diáspora:  el exilio, el reconocimiento, y la verdad

Amparo Restrepo gives her personal understanding of these three concepts which are crucial to the work of Mujer Diáspora, to A Museum for Me, and to the Colombian Truth Commission

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♀ Diaspora Woman is .... inviting you to tell your own story

Nodo Reino Unido e Irlanda en apoyo a La Comision de La Verdad

The UK and Ireland Hub In Support of the Colombian Truth Commission ​

Mujer Diaspora and The UK and Ireland Hub in Support of the Colombian Truth Commission invite you to the Learning Space to get to know the people and processes involved in giving testimony from outside Colombia to the Truth Commission process.

Pase al Learning Space para ver el video hecho por el Nodo Reino Unido e Irlanda en apoyo a La Comision de La Verdad, donde  la gente comprometida con ayudar a los exiliados explica los procesos actuales en Colombia y  los procedmientos para dar su testimonio desde el extranjero 

Conexiones: music from the diaspora

North meets South as artists from the Colombian, Latin American and African-Caribbean diaspora in London and Liverpool share performance space at A Museum for Me.

Latin American Community Choir

Recorded during lockdown for Refugee Week 2020, the distanced yet united voices of London’s Latin American Community Choir in a moving performance of La Raiz (the Root), followed by an uplifting reminder that nothing has to stay the same …. Cambia, todo cambia 

La Bulla: Cumbia A’puyá ​

La Bulla is a musical community-based project that has been happening spontaneously and gaining momentum within the Colombian diaspora in London. It creates a shared cross-cultural space that also engages with the local community where the gatherings are happening. We have discovered shared values and connections around our traditional music, and we are proud to have connection with the global south through rhythms that arrived in our lands with the African community. The discourses of this community artistic group include themes of peace, memory and reconciliation, and the inter-relationship of these to other issues of concern, such as the climate crisis, decolonisation, recognition of ancient archives of knowledge and reparatory justice.

Luma Trio

Luma Trio are brothers Francisco & Oscar Carrasco and Max Alder. Familiar faces in Liverpool for promoting Latin American arts and culture through community-based cultural production; bringing Latin American musical forms to new audiences; and showcasing Latin American traditional instruments, including Charango, Cuatro, Cajon, Quena, Bombo and Congas as well as the guitar. In this set especially recorded live for A Museum for Me (two metres apart!) Luma pay tribute to some of the leading artists of the Latin American protest song, tracing its artistic and historic importance in terms of historical memory.
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