January 2016, Putumayo. The guerrilleros are waiting for the arrival of the peace delegation.
There is a Colombia left out, ignored. To meet her, you often need to take muddy tracks deformed by mule hooves or travel for hours on a tiny little rowboat. This Colombia doesn’t know the effects of the growth. It’s still waiting for the next visit of a health brigade or schoolteacher. But this Colombia isn’t only poverty and misery. It is also the liveliness, ingenuity, and passion of those who learned to survive and construct a world far from anywhere. You can meet it in the course of a vallenato refrain, on the rhythms of cumbia, or when you let yourself drive to the incredible stories of a local ranchera song. This is the other Colombia: out of the cities, removed from the centers of decision-making, living in the countryside at the pace of the harvest, the rainy period, and the moon’s cycle. She is built on community ties, looking at consumer society and its middle class with alternating desire and disgust.
Some people say this Colombia was born on April 9, 1948, when Jorge Eliécer Gaitán, the popular liberal presidential candidate, was murdered in Bogotá. The fights between conservatives and liberals gave rise to an internal war and led part of the liberal opposition to find a shelter in the countryside. Then the guerrillas emerged, like the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia—People’s Army, or FARC.
Today, the other Colombia is the main stage of the armed conflict, while in the big city the effects of the war on daily life are rarely felt.
This body of work presents the Colombia I met in the countryside, in the Caquetá department, introduces FARC combatants, and tracks the peace process and the return to civilian life. The intent of these images is to find peace in the areas where war began and imposed itself day after day on the land, and the bodies and spirits of the people living there.
Nadège Mazars is a French photographer living in Colombia. She dedicated her professional life to photography after completing her PhD in sociology. Her work explores the local and social effects of global issues, such as public health crises and natural resource extraction. Her work also focuses on the civilian opposition and the threats that face Colombian democracy. In 2016, she received an Emergency Fund from the Magnum Foundation and the Prince Claus Fund to develop her project, The Other Colombia.
At Guernica, we’ve spent the last 15 years producing uncompromising journalism.
More than 80% of our finances come from readers like you. And we’re constantly working to produce a magazine that deserves you—a magazine that is a platform for ideas fostering justice, equality, and civic action.
If you value Guernica’s role in this era of obfuscation, please donate.