An International Symposium and Conversation with Colombian artist Juan Manuel Echavarria and Members of his Fundación Puntos de Encuentro

This event is free and open to the public. Undergraduate and graduate students are welcome. Members of the Charlottesville community are more than welcome!

This event seeks to provide Charlottesville and the University of Virginia with a space to reflect on how art can be at once a mode of confrontation and a vehicle of reconciliation. What aesthetic practices have artists, activists and intellectuals used to critique violence and prefigure better futures? When and where does confrontation art fuel societal change or, conversely, question its own utility? Defining “art” broadly to include film, literature, music, visual culture and performance, the UVA Symposium on Art and Confrontation in the Americas / Las Américas provides a forum for discussing the intersections between art, civic life and activism throughout the hemisphere.

Keynote speakers Juan Manuel Echavarría, Fernando Grisalez and Gabriel Ossa will open the symposium on Sunday, September 29 at 7:00pm with a discussion of their artistic work and activism in Colombia. Echavarría, an artist committed to confronting the difficult realities of a country that has experienced decades of civil war, uses visual art to recover memory and make visible experiences that have been rendered invisible by the normalization of violence. Politically, Echavarría’s art intervenes in the contradictory space between official peace narratives and the violent realities that still affect many parts of Colombia, seeking ultimately to reconstruct a social body dismembered by war. Through his non-profit foundation Fundación Puntos de Encuentro, Echavarría also produces collective projects in which he steps aside as an individual creative agent to let others tell their stories and shape how the Colombian conflict is perceived in broader society.

The keynote remarks will be followed by two days of symposium presentations. Key points of discussion include the nature of confrontation; public art and memory; art in contentious spaces; and the various ways in which artistic interventions may “ripple into extra-artistic institutions and practices” (Sommer 2014, 7). By engaging with these issues, the symposium and visiting artist activities intend to place artists, activists and scholars from the US and Latin America in dialogue with the Charlottesville community.

Main Events of the Symposium:
Symposium Opening and Reception:
Opening Remarks by Fernando Operé
Keynote Address: Silencios” by visiting artist Juan M. Echavarría and Fernando Grisalez & Gabriel Ossa.
Date: Sunday, Sept. 29, 7:00 pm.
Where: The Graduate Hotel Ballroom. 1309 W Main St, Charlottesville, VA 22903

Reception catered by Graduate Charlottesville . Event is open to all; we recommend to RSVP

The International Symposium
View full schedule
Date: Monday, Sept. 30, starts at 9:30 am. Event is open to all; we recommend to RSVP
Date: Tuesday, Oct. 1, starts at 9:30 am. Event is open to all; we recommend to RSVP
Where: Auditorium of the Harrison Institute/Small Special Collections Library 160 McCormick Rd, Charlottesville, VA 22904

Art Exhibition: Silencios: a photographic essay by Juan Manuel Echavarria; with the collaboration of Fernando Grisalez. Monday, Sept 30 – October 30, 2019.
Where: Nau Hall, South Lawn Commons. 1540 Jefferson Park Ave, Charlottesville, VA 22904
Opening & Reception. Date: Monday, Sept. 30, 6:30 pm – 9: 00 pm .
6:30 pm. Exhibition Opening:” A conversation with artist Juan Manuel Echavarria. Moderated by Prof. Nichole Flores (Religious Studies) . Where : Nau 211.
7:45 pm. Exhibition Reception.
Catered by Avocado Company. Where: Darden Lobby (3rd floor of Nau-Gibson, South Lawn Commons)

Community Activities: Wednesday, October 2, 6:00 – 8:30 pm.
6:00 pm. Film screening: “Bocas de Ceniza (Mouths of Ash), 18:15 minutes. (Spanish with English subtitles).
6:30 pm. Colombian artist Fernando Grisalez lead a conversation about this Colombian film.
7:30 pm. Reception catered by Harvest Moon. Event is open to all; we recommend to RSVP
Where: Vinegar Hill Center. 220 W Market St, Charlottesville, VA 22902

Symposium Organizers:

Support Team of the Symposium:


The symposium is sponsored by:

  • UVA Arts Council: Enriching the Arts on Grounds
  • University of Virginia Library
  • Institute of the Humanities & Global Cultures (IHGC) Buckner W. Clay Endowment
  • Center for Global Inquiry & Innovation (CGII)
  • UVA McIntire Department of Art
  • UVA Department of Spanish, Italian and Portuguese
  • amercias2 UVA Americas Center/Centro de las Américas
  • Fundación Puntos de Encuentro, Bogota, Colombia

  • religion2
    The Virginia Center for the Study of Religion
  • page Page Barbour Grant on Sanctuary and Belonging
  • european UVA European Studies Program
  • german Center for German Studies
  • WTJU:91.1 FM University of Virginia