Juan Manuel Echavarría

The living witness of the Las Brisas massacre

El testigo vivo de la masacre de Las Brisas /

The living witness of the Las Brisas massacre


183x122 cm / 72x48 in

Archival pigment print

José Posso García

Joaquín Posso Ortega

Alfredo Posso García

Rafael Mercado García

Gabriel Mercado García

José Mercado García

Wilfrido Mercado Tapia

Manuel Yepes Mercado

Dalmiro Barrios Lobelo

Alexis Rojas Cantillo

Jorge Eliecer Tovar

Pedro Castellano Cuten


On Saturday, March 11, 2000, twelve peasant men were tortured and killed by the paramilitary group “Héroes de los Montes de María” (Heroes of Los Montes de María).

Ten years after the massacre, I was invited to the commemoration. On that long and narrow road towards Las Brisas, I heard for the first time about the tamarind tree.

“Under that tamarind tree they tortured and left several dead bodies,” I was told; and when we finally arrived at the place of the commemoration, a prairie surrounded by steep and bushy mountains, there I saw for the first time the tamarind tree.

During the commemoration, the tamarind tree was mentioned again and again in the stories told by these peasants who were displaced from this rural settlement. “Under the tamarind tree we played...there we met, we chatted...under the tamarind tree we got together with our neighbors from Pela el Ojo and the town of Mampuján...under that tamarind tree ...” and the stories continued.

The tamarind tree—a witness of life and death in this faraway rural settlement of los Montes de María.


Installation view

Museo de Arte Moderno de Bogotá, Colombia, 2017