Editor's Note: I've had the good fortune to work with some outstanding students at the universities here in Medellín. As both incentive and reward for the students who have worked the hardest and shown the most improvement, I plan to occasionally use fototazo to feature their portfolios. If you would like to contact the photographer, please send me an email; they would love to hear from you. - Tom Griggs
TERRITORIOS DEL DESTIERRO
In rural Colombia, you commonly find homes abandoned due to the violence of land conflicts, harassment from guerrillas and paramilitaries and the long-standing internal problems of the country.
These photographs are a reflection of this reality in Colombia, they are ruins found in the Department (or State) of Antioquia, in the towns of Dabeiba, Mutata, La Unión and Sonson. These properties, at the mercy of time and of being forgotten, have become a symbol of the emotional and personal realities of the owner forced to leave and of their condition of displacement, of the violation of their right to their land as well as of the social conflicts that the country continues to endure. They are Territorios del destierro or "Exiled Lands" that are returning to nature, forming part of the landscape and becoming a metaphor for the neglect and indifference of society towards the issue of forced displacement - an issue that is the historic plague of Colombia.
Mónica Lorenza Taborda Gutiérrez (b. 1976, Medellín) worked ten years in land registry offices with photogrammetry, maps, cadastral photography, deeds and contracts. She developed her interest in documenting the abandonment of property in rural Colombia from seeing the problem first-hand during those ten years. She began her studies in the visual arts at the Universidad de Antioquia in Medellín three years ago after re-marrying and deciding to change careers. She has shown work in the Regional Biennial of Apartado, the Casa de la Cultura in Carmen and the Casa de la Cultura in Sopetrán (all in Colombia). She and her husband Ramses have four children.