Memory, Place and Displacement, Jesus Abad Colorado's photography

Jesus Abad Colorado Memory, Place and Displacement

I Municipio de Bojaya-Choco, 2002

Municipio de Bojaya-Choco, 2002

Municipio de La Hormiga-Putumayo, 2002

Municipio de Jurado-Choco, 2002

Municipio de Riosucio-Choco, 2002

Municipio de Segovia-Antioquia, 2002

Tierraalta-Cordoba, 2002

Rio Atrato-Choco, 2001

Municipio de Orito-Putumayo, 2001

Serrania de San Lucas-Boliviar, 1995

Artist's statement

Colombia has paramos and rainforests, which are incredible producers of water. With thousands of rivers and lagoons, two seas and the Pacific Coast, it is one of the rainiest regions of the planet.

Its territory covers the Andean Mountains and the Amazon, two of the biggest resources of water of the planet. In their habitats, thousands of species of birds, flowers, mammals and butterflies can be found.However, Colombia is in real need of social justice. Of 1,013 counties, only 104 have drinkable water. The rest of them don’t have water suitable for human consumption. In 2007, twenty thousand children died because of poor quality water related illnesses. Without embargo, this is not first class news: the majority of the national budget is for war, not for health or education. These images of natural places, walked on by the war and the different armies from the left and the right, who silently walk on the valleys and mountains, destroying rainforest and wonderful landscapes, are a sign of all that we lose as human beings.

About the photographer


1967, Medellín, Colombia



Based in


About Jesus Abad Colorado

Jesús Abad Colorado López is one of the few photojournalists documenting the many faces and features of the armed conflict in Colombia. His photographic archive – encompassing over thirteen years of work – addresses forced internal displacement, the suffering of affected communities, and their acts of resistance as well as the scars the conflict has imprinted on the land. He also has documented the atrocities committed by armed actors, including crimes against humanity, acts of genocide, and environmental disasters.

Jesús Abad Colorado’s perspective is one that seeks humanity, even that concealed behind the masks of armed combatants. He distances himself from the type of photography that captures shocking images to satisfy the morbid curiosity of others. Instead, he sees his photographs as tellers of stories, testimonies to disaster and desolation, and as witnesses to people’s resilience and strength. His work aims to keep alive the memory of the past; for him, creating historical memory through photography is an ethical imperative to face the challenges of the present and ensure the dignity of the future.

Jesús Abad Colorado has a BA in Communications from the Universidad de Antioquia in Medellín. He also holds a diploma in Responsible Journalism. Between 1992 and 2001, he worked as a graphic reporter for El Colombiano, a newspaper in Medellín. He has participated in more than thirty individual and collective exhibitions at national and international levels, and has written, participated in, and collaborated with a wide variety of publications on human rights and armed conflict. He has received several national awards for his work, including the Simón Bolivar Prize for Journalism, which he won three times. He is co-author of the book Relatos e Imágenes: El desplazamiento Forzado en Colombia (Narratives and Images: Forced Internal Displacement in Colombia) and Desde la prisión, realidades de las cárceles en Colombia (From the Prison, Realities of the jails in Colombia).

Between 2003 and 2005, his exhibition Memoria la guerra olvidada en Colombia (Memory: The Forgotten War in Colombia) was displayed in the Swiss Parliament in Bern and in other spaces including the United Nations in Geneva and the principal Swiss universities. In 2006, he received two international awards: Caritas in Switzerland for his work on the search for truth and social justice, and in the United States he was awarded the International Press Freedom Award from The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). It was the first time in the history of the CPJ that this prize was given to a photojournalist.