Microgrant Photographer 7: Mónica Lorenza Taborda

Mónica Lorenza Taborda 
Location: Medellín, Antioquia, Colombia
Request: Nikkor AF-S DX 55-200mm lens
Grant Status: $275 of $275 (100%)
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Mónica Lorenza Taborda  (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.



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.


We feel a strange fascination with ruins either for their aesthetic beauty, the loneliness that they contain, or because they represent the future of things and of ourselves.

This photographic series documents the ruins of "El Jordan," an old café that after more than a century of life, is now a ruin in the city of Medellín. They are the ruins of a place I would pass in front of during my childhood and visit from time to time.

Walking through it is not just to walk through the memories of the space, it is to bring back to my mind memory fragments of passing this site, memories and images of the Jordan with life that is confused among its ruins.

Now they are the spoils of loneliness, of neglect, and the failure of a city that does not preserve its cultural heritage and of various municipal administrations that have left this architectural heritage of Medellín unprotected and at the mercy of time and forgetfulness.