When I began working on this piece I wanted to explore the idea of creating something out of things that weren’t there. I was thinking about 120,00 people that have disappeared in the 5 decades of Colombia’s civil war. In thinking of police and state violence, and the blood that has been spilled, I dipped fabric in blood-red dye baths and used wax to resist the dye and create shapes, in essence bringing attention to what is not there.
Shortly after I began this exploration, millions of Colombians took to the streets to answer the call for a national strike. Colombians arrived with drums and theatre and were met with bullets, helicopters, tanks and state sanctioned militarized police and paramilitary tactics.
NOS ESTÁN MATANDO =
“THEY ARE KILLING US”
These words became the rallying cry of Colombians trying to bring attention to the violence. I painted them with white wax on textile, revealed by the blood dripping down the fabric as I pulled it out of the dye bath. This piece arrives at the Queer Arts Festival weathered having been to protests all over Toronto. Having been used to express our grief and determination to have our humanity recognized. At the time I am writing this, it has been 41 days since the protests began. 45 people have been murdered by police and hundreds more are reported missing, presumably dead or in torture camps.
Pablo Muñoz is a community organizer, designer and artist whose work extends from furniture design, video installation, murals and public art. Arriving in Canada as a young refugee in 2000, Pablo draws inspiration from Colombian magic realism and forced displacement. His work often centres the experience of the LGBTQ2s+ global diaspora as well as the stories of communities resisting war, occupation and western imperialism. Growing up in East Vancouver, he became engaged with immigrant/refugee organizing, advocacy and solidarity efforts with Indigenous communities in Colombia. He made his move to Toronto in 2015, the same year his piece No Walls Between Us won a national call for submissions from the AGO becoming a temporary mural installation at the entrance of the gallery.
He graduated from OCAD University with a degree in Industrial design in 2018. Pieces from his furniture collection Macondo were displayed at the Design Offsite Festival winning “Best of Design Week” by Designlines magazine for two years in a row. His video installation piece, Migrant Restless Syndrome, was featured in the Winter Vernissage of Montreal’s Never Apart Gallery in 2020.
He currently works for the City of Toronto in public engagement where he facilitates collaboration between city officials, designers and architects and communities to create more equitable parks and public spaces.Since the protests erupted in Colombia in May of 2021 he has centered his efforts in bringing to light the unfolding atrocities being committed by the Colombian police. Particularly the dozens of people murdered over the course of one month, hundreds of people disappeared and Canada’s complicity in this injustice through weapon sales and a bilateral police partnership with the RCMP.