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Museum Mondays: Exhibit integrates human rights work, Weissberg Program

January 20, 2013 at 10:11 pm

The Wright Museum will host the traveling exhibit Yuyanapaq: To Remember in the North Gallery, opening Thursday, Feb. 7 at 5:30 p.m. The opening immediately follows a lecture by photojournalist and visiting scholar in the Weissberg Program in Human Rights, Nancy Chappell.

Between 1980 and the year 2000, Peru underwent unprecedented political violence that involved a painful pattern of assassinations, kidnapping, forced disappearance, tortures, unfair detentions, serious crimes, and other violations of human rights. The Maoist group Shining Path declared war against the state country?, starting an onslaught of violence and human rights violations that affected hundreds of thousands of Peruvians. Some 600,000 people were forced to abandon their homes, generating an internal displacement phenomenon that affected social networks at locations of origin as well as destination sites.

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The Peruvian Truth and Reconciliation Commission was created in 2001 to analyze the political, social, and cultural conditions and behaviors that contributed to the situation of violence, both by the state and by society; to contribute to the administration of justice; and to make proposals for moral and material redress of violations.

In the words of Solomon Febres, president of the Commission of Truth and Reconciliation, this art exhibit “narrates part of the events between 1980 and 2000, and tries to reconstruct the visual memory of a period of internal armed conflict that caused the death and disappearance of more than 69,000 people.

This is a documentation of the resistance of thousands of men and women of Peru; we find the greatest moral commentary—testimony and teaching—in those faces of desolation and bewilderment at the tragedy and at the same time we find a peremptory mandate: to not consent to the oblivion of disinterest or indifference. We are obligated to write our recent history knowingly, integrating into it the memory of those who suffered in silence.” 

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Since its inception, Yuyanapaq: To Remember has traveled across the continent. The exhibit consists of 40 images carefully selected from the original showing of over 200. The showing at Beloit College also includes projected images from Chappell’s own portfolio.