Yuyanapaq: To Remember
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 violations of human rights. The Maoist group Shining Path declared war against the State, starting an onslaught of violence and human rights violations that affected hundreds of thousands of Peruvians. Almost 60,000 people were killed, and 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.
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.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission felt that to get at the truth it was trying to unravel, it was important to complement its written report with visual documents. The Commission created an Image Bank that was open to the public and included nearly 1700 photographs. It also prepared the photo exhibit “Yuyanapaq: To Remember;” the selection of more than 200 photographs organized in 27 topical rooms told the story of the war to a wider national and international public. While the main exhibit took place in the capital, Lima, a smaller selection of pictures was taken to other cities in the country and abroad.
Thanks to men and women who, equipped with cameras, decided to record the diverse and complex reality of the manchaytimpu, or “time of fear,” the images reconstruct the history of those violent years. Many of these images had been ignored or trivialized. The majority of the incidents and protagonists had gone unnoticed or had been forgotten. To recover them and bring them once again to our memory, or to register them for the first time, became part of the struggle for truth and reconciliation. This collection remains a visual legacy for Peruvian society as a whole, with an encouraging assurance: The images don’t change, but the eyes that see them do.
(Excerpts taken and adapted from the Peruvian Truth and Reconciliation Commission website)
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