University of Virginia, College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Art and Confrontation in the Americas: An International Symposium

September 29, 2019

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

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.

See full details here


Main Events


Symposium Opening and Reception:
“Silencios” by Juan Manuel Echevarria, Visiting Artist
Date: Sunday, Sept. 29, 7:00 pm.
Where: The Graduate Hotel Ballroom.
1309 W Main St, Charlottesville, VA 22903

The International Symposium
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Date: Monday, Sept. 30, starts at 9:30 am
Date: Tuesday, Oct. 1, starts at 9:30 am
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
Monday, Sept 30 – October 30, 2019
Exhibition Opening and Reception: A conversation with Juan Manuel Echavarria, Fernando Grisalez and Gabriel Ossa.
Date: Monday, Sept. 30, 6:30 pm
Where: Nau Hall, South Lawn Commons
1540 Jefferson Park Ave, Charlottesville, VA 22904

Community Activities: Film screening of Bocas de Ceniza (Mouths of Ash)
Bocas de Ceniza (Mouths of Ash) 18:15 minutes. (Spanish with English subtitles)
Colombian artist Fernando Grisalez lead a conversation about this Colombian film.
Date: Wednesday, Oct.2 at 6:00 pm
Where: Vinegar Hill Center
200 W Main St, Charlottesville, VA 22902



This event is co-organized by:
Herbert (Tico) Braun (History)
Federico Cuatlacuatl (Studio Art)
Mona Kasra (Drama)
Lydia Moyer (Studio Art)
Mathilda Shepard (Spanish)
Lucie Stylianopoulous (Art and Indigenous Studies Librarian)
Miguel Valladares-Llata (Latin American Research Librarian)





We thank the following centers and departments for supporting us:
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 Religious Studies


Homer Statue
7:00 PM