“ Detrito: Objeto en Resistencia was a public intervention that took place in the main plaza of Manizales (Plaza de Bolivar) in 2018. This was the first project that was made upon returning to Colombia, after living in the U.S for 16 years. The work makes reference to the housing in marginal communities in Latin America, often called “invasiones” or “cambuches”, in english “invasions” or “shanty homes”. This urban phenomena “invades” sectors in the periphery of cities, where the great majority of low income, poor families live. In Colombia, they are a result of mass displacements in agricultural communities due to the internal conflict, war and violence caused by paramilitary groups, dissident guerrillas, narcotraffic and the crumbling politics of security and welfare of the Colombian state. Disputes over the control of territories caused the exodus of these communities into the large urban centers of the country, who settled into the periphery and build out of discarded, recycled materials their homes. The work takes a similar approach in terms of production. For weeks, with the help of local recycling personnel, I collected materials that were discarded from construction and demolition sites, as well as municipal disposal points. Wood, furniture, cinder blocks, “guadua” or bamboo, bricks, were some of the materials that were gathered, and later used for the construction of the piece, concentrating on material resourcefulness as an underlying concept between the work and its local context. During the early hours of Saturday, November 3rd, with the collaboration of students from the University of Caldas in Manizales, we invaded the main plaza of Bolivar to build the structure. The location was as important as the material, since the plaza is the main nucleus of the city, where the symbols of power in Colombian society converge. The city hall (shown in the images), the main cathedral, and the main banks surround the plaza in what Foucault calls “relationships of power”. By placing the structure in the middle of the plaza, the work aimed to counteract these symbols of power in an act of resistance for the marginalized communities in the city, which are often forgotten by state and municipal policies. The intervention was key to install a place of dialogue not only between structures, but also with the common citizens of Manizales, who transit through the plaza throughout the day.
Alejandro Valencia is an award winning international artist and educator living and working in Manizales, Colombia and Miami, Florida. He was born in Pereira, Colombia in 1990, and later migrated to the United States due to the political and economical conditions of Colombia in the 2000’s. He studied at Miami Dade College between 2009 and 2013 where he earned an Associates in Arts, and later in New World School of the Arts from 2013 to 2017 where he earned a Bachelor in Fine Arts and Bachelor in Art History. His work migrates between various disciplines, from installation to photography, teaching and curating. Although the works fluctuate in media and content, his practice focuses on local history, manifestations of resistance, and pedagogical strategies of community intervention.
His many works can be seen and purchased on artsty.net; etsy.com; 1stdibs.com; artsper.com. We thank him for permission to showcase him here.