The exhibition is designed by Foundation We Are, and was created in partnership with Memria and with the collaboration of the Museo Casa de la Memoria in Medellín, Colombia, which is hosting the exhibition. The inauguration will take place on Tuesday, December 15, starting at 11 AM Colombian time (5 PM CET) through an online event with Adriana Diosa, guest leader and human rights defender; Caroline Aarsæther, Country Director of the Norwegian Human Rights Fund in Colombia; and Jairo Herrán, Director of the Museo Casa de la Memoria, and will be moderated by Sirley Muñoz from Somos Defensores. It will be possible to watch the event on the Norwegian Human Rights Fund's Facebook page and on the museum's as well.
The situation of human rights defenders has gradually worsened since the signing of the Peace Agreement four years ago, and has worsened dramatically in the recent months. According to the latest report from Somos Defensores, homicides increased with 61 % during the first half of the year, compared to the same period in 2019.
This exhibition invites the visitor to listen to the motivations and feelings directly from the voices of defenders who work daily to build a better country. Among the testimonies collected are those of Ricardo Arciniegas Rodríguez from the Fundación Convivencia Sostenible del Guaviare; Meilyn Zendaya, from the Marcha Patriótica; and Marino Córdoba, from the National Association of Displaced Afro-Colombians (Afrodes), among many others. Marino Córdoba was recently awarded the National Human Rights Prize Colombia 2020 for his lifetime work in defense of rights. In total, there are five stories of leaders who defend the right to education; to equality; to live free of discrimination; to life, liberty and personal security; and to political participation.
This space was created to recognize that "each person represents customs, values, a family, a culture, and at the same time, is a unique being who leaves his or her own mark on the world", state the Norwegian Human Rights Fund and Memria, promoters of the exhibition that will be hosted by the Museo Casa de la Memoria.
"As a city and a country, it is necessary to listen and give a face to the hundreds of people who dedicate their lives to defend and restore human rights in the territories. It is the opportunity for us as a society to recognize the work of all defenders in the course of time," reflects Jairo Herrán, Director of the Museum.
For her part, Karen van Luttervelt, the exhibition's designer, highlights how art can help make the work of human rights defenders visible: "The stories of human rights defenders often contain struggle and sometimes victory, yet the most important thing they show is the persistence and resistance of the human spirit. Through art and design, their stories can be shaped and presented in a way that engages the public in the often unseen narratives of society."
The exhibition can be visited physically in groups of up to 10 people and by appointment on the museum's website.
Watch the video from the inauguration ceremony below: