Walls of Hope and The Perquin Model

 

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Walls of Hope is an international art and human rights project of art, education, conflict resolution, crime prevention, diplomacy building, community development and preservation of historic memory.

Started in 2005, Walls of Hope facilitates, implements, and teaches art to children, youth, adults, and the elderly. The Perquin Model is a blueprint that has become a replicable art model implanted successfully in many regions in El Salvador, as well as in Guatemala, México, Argentina, Canadá, Switzerland, Germany, Northern Ireland, and the United States. In 2016, Walls of Hope, born in a war zone in El Salvador, moved to Sincelejo, Colombia, to join the efforts of the Colombian Peace Process by using the strategies of art and the practice of communal building in the arduous task of recovery of a country that suffered a 52 year-long civil war.

       

Asociación de Víctimas de Violencia de Cocorná, Antioquia, Colombia

Association of Victims of Violence from Cocorná, Antioquia, Colombia, August 2009

Mission

The community art projects created in the Perquin Model focus on the challenges posed by inter-communal and societal conflicts in today’s world. Our mission is to bring greater awareness through shared town meetings and through the planning of collaborative art interventions and public art pieces. The collaborative art projects recover historic memory while providing artistic skills and practical expertise in a new model of art education. The mandate of our school is to create bridges of collaboration with local and political agencies that will welcome art as a contribution of social planning, to develop leadership roles among the participants, especially the youth who will face the challenge to grow up in a collapsed economic scenario threatened by poverty and unemployment. Through art and creative praxis, children and youth focus on conflict resolution envisioning a proposition for endurable peace.

         Sincelejo mural

History

The School of Art and Open Studio of Perquin/ Walls of Hope was started in 2005 in El Salvador.

Four Salvadoran artists/ teachers direct the school: America Argentina Vaquerano Romero, Claudia Verenice Flores Escolero, Rosa del Carmen Argueta, working in collaboration with Claudia Bernardi, founder, artist, and educator from Argentina.      

As part of the Peace Accords signed in 1992 ending twelve years of civil war in El Salvador, the United Nations Truth Commission nominated the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team, Equipo Argentino de Antropología Forense, EAAF, to perform the exhumations of the massacre at El Mozote, Morazán. Rufina Amaya Márquez, the sole survivor of the massacre, stated that the Salvadoran army murdered more than 1000 civilians on December 11th, 1981.

The Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team, EAAF asked Claudia Benardi, artist and educator from Argentina who founded the Perquin Model, to create the archeological maps that would record the location and finding of human remains, associated objects and the presence of ballistic evidence. After three months of investigation, the allegation of mass murder against civilian population was confirmed including 136 children under the age of 12.  

Bernardi states, “Once my assignment as consultant/ cartographer in the case of the investigation of the massacre at El Mozote concluded, I went to Perquin, a village of 5,000 inhabitants located 4 km. North from where the hamlet of El Mozote once existed. Perquin had been hugely impacted by the war. The people living there in 1992 were ex combatants or civilians who had recently returned from a refugee camp in Honduras. The majority of the existent houses were unhabitable. As I looked around amazed at the effects of destruction. I was surrounded with evidence of pain contained on the wounded walls. They were walls of pain. “How?”  I wondered, “Could they ever turn into Walls of Hope?”

“Since 1992 until 2005, I visited Perquin frequently. It was during those visits to Morazán and to Perquin that I learned about the history of violence inflicted to civilian population during the 12 years civil war, forced displacements of families who had suffered the death of many family members, and the loss of their crops. They felt overwhelmed by tragedy and were afraid for not retaining historic memory.”

The creation of Walls of Hope responds to the following question:

              “ How can the insertion of art be constant in the life of a community?”

The proposal of community building through artistic expression of wall murals implies the creation of a reality that has not previously existed. In this newness, perhaps, is where the kernel of life resides.””

The Perquin model has been replicated in other countries, responding to the needs of communities. (See below: “Selected Collaborative and Community-based Projects, 2007-2022”)

The project continues with funding from non-profit and for-profit organizations, individuals, and grants.

Activities

The activities that expand from Walls of Hope focus upon designing, creating, and completing community-based and collaborative art projects. These use the strategies of various arts to rebuild a torn apart region where the legacy of wars and political violence is followed by social, institutional, and economic collapse.

Walls of Hope welcomes everyone, all members of the community of all ages regardless of their political or religious affiliation. The focus is the creation of :

Community members decide what, where, and how to do their project.  They are given opportunity to share their histories and traumas as they design and develop the project.

International artists are invited to share with the community their skills and artistry producing week -long workshops designed to teach and disseminate techniques, skills, and innovative aesthetic propositions. Community members  are also trained to facilitate art classes. Since 2015 there have been weekly courses addressing the urgent need to recuperation and respect the environment, using exclusively recycled materials. The four artists/ teachers of Walls of Hope facilitate, implement, and teach children, youth, adults, and the elderly bridging art beyond El Salvador.

                          A group of children holding signs

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                                      Perquin, El Salvador, 2011                                       Baja Verapaz, Guatemala, 2009

EL MURAL, Mural colaborativo en el edificio de la ex-ESMA

https://www.youtube.com › watch

Preview

3:50

Facilitadores EAAF: Patricia Bernardi, Viviana D' Amelia, Nuri Quinteiro, Carlos Rojas Surraco y Marcelo Castillo. Directora artística: Claudia ...

YouTube · ROCCOMOTION · Apr 5, 2014

 

Audiences Served

Walls of Hope designs, facilitates, and complete collaborative and community-based art projects for children, youth, adults, and the elderly regardless of their political or religious affiliation.

The project exists in the intersection of art and political violence focusing on the pursuit and respect of human rights and social justice. The communities of people that Walls of Hope serves are survivors of massacres, survivors of torture, victims of forced exiles, asylum seekers, indigenous people, Pueblos Originarios, and incarcerated youth in the United States.

Members of the community are trained to facilitate the various art classes, which continue after the project is complete.

Successful Impact: The Perquin Model

The Perquin Model is a blueprint that has become a replicable art model implanted successfully in many regions in El Salvador, as well as in Guatemala, México, Argentina, Canadá, Switzerland, Germany, Northern Ireland, and the United States.

 

The Perquin Model could be defined as follows:

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Children painting a mural at the massacre place of El Mozote

The Perquin Model :Selected Collaborative and Community-based Projects, 2007-202

2007, Antigua, Guatemala    Mural created by indigenous people, survivors of massacres in Ixcan, Ixil,Nebaj,Chimaltenango and Chaju

2007, Sacramento, California, United States    Mural and Video Documentary created by African American and Latino students at Sacramento High School.

2008, Guatemala City.    Mural created by 35 indigenous survivors of massacres in Ixcán and Quiché working in collaboration with 15 Human Rights activist and 15 psychosocial workers members of ECAP, Equipo Comunitario de Acción Psicosocial, Community Psychosocial Action Team

2008, Toronto, Canada   Walls of Hope:    Installation: Sculptures, Paintings, Video, Dance, Theatre, Poetry created by 47 youth at risk, recent refugees and asylum seekers and youth living with special needs.

2008, Huehuetenango, Guatemala   Mural created by 35 indigenous women survivors of sexual violence during the armed conflict

2009, Cobán, Guatemala   Workshop of Modeled paper sculptures created by 35 indigenous women survivors of sexual violence and sexual slavery during the armed conflict.

2009, Rabinal, Guatemala   Mural created by 52 indigenous survivors of torture, and survivors of the massacres of Rabinal, Plan de Sánchez and Río Negro, Baja Verapaz

2009, Cocorná, Colombia   Mural created by 59 members of AVVIC, Asociación de Víctimas de Violencia de Cocorná, Association of Victims of Violence and Forced Displacement of Cocorná, Antioquia.

2010, Panzós, Guatemala    Mural created by 75 men, women, youth, and children survivors of the massacre of Panzos, Alta Verapaz.

2010/2011 Perquin, El Salvador    Collaborative and community mural created by 30 women affiliated with ACMM/ Asociación Comunitaria de Mujeres de Morazán,  Women's Community Association of Morazán and 20 students and faculty from Mary Baldwin University, Virginia, United States

2011, Belfast, Northern Ireland    Collaborative and community mural created by 95 Catholic and Protestant children on Ardoyne Road, West Belfast during the Ardoyne district riots.

 2011, Permeable Borders/ Waynesboro, Virginia, United States    Collaborative and community mural created by 75 children from Winona Elementary School, 20 children from Central America at Casa la Amistad and students and teachers from Mary Baldwin University

2012, Le Mur de l'Espoir, Monthey, Switzerland    Mural created in collaboration with Amnesty International that brought together 93 refugees, migrants, asylum seekers, and victims of forced exiles from Latin America, Africa and Eastern Europe.

2013, Staunton, Virginia, United States    Mural created at the Booker T. Washington Community Center by 42 African-American elders in collaboration with 20 students and faculty at Mary Baldwin University.

2013, Ciudad Juarez, Mexico    Mural created by 26 young people, aged 13 to 17, survivors of violence caused as a result of Mexico's drug wars in the state of Chihuahua, Mexico.

2013, University of Osnabrük, Osnabrük, Germany    Mural created by 25 Social Work students and 45 migrant women from Eastern Europe, Africa, Latin America, and the Balkans.

2013, Le Mur de l'Espoir, Fribourg, Switzerland   Mural created in collaboration with Amnesty International that brought together 35 refugees,  political asylum seekers, and forced exiles from Afghanistan, Congo, Sri Lanka, Eritrea, Somalia and Tibet.

2013, Ciudad Juarez, Mexico    Modeled paper sculptures created by 25 young people, ages 13 to 17, survivors of violence caused as a result of Mexico's drug wars, in the state of Chihuahua, Mexico.

2014, Buenos Aires, Argentina    The Disappeared are Appearing, collaborative and community-based mural created by 57 relatives of disappeared people, who were able to recover the human remains of their loved ones through the work of the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team. The mural was painted in the Former Clandestine Detention and Extermination Center, ESMA

2014, Labyrinths on the Border / The Train of Dreams, Virginia, United States    Collaborative mural created by 40 undocumented, unaccompanied, Central American migrant minors detained in juvenile centers in the United States.

2014, Buenos Aires, Argentina How Do You Draw Truth?”   Collaborative and community-based mural created by 35 relatives of victims of police brutality in Argentina. Museo de Arte de la Memoria, Comisión Provincial por la Memoria de la Provincia de Buenos Aires CPM/ Museo de Arte y Memoria de la Provincia de Buenos Aires, La Plata, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

2014, Buenos Aires, Argentina “El Nudo/ The Knot”     Collaborative and community-based mural painted by 45 human rights activists, relatives of the disappeared, and staff of the Ex ESMA, Former Clandestine Center of Detention, Torture and Extermination.

2015, "The Tree of Life,"   Collaborative and community-based mural painted by 28 unaccompanied, undocumented, Central American migrant minors incarcerated in a maximum-security facility in the United States. 

2016 "Second Chances,"   Collaborative and community-based mural painted by 56 unaccompanied, undocumented Central American migrant minors incarcerated in a maximum-security facility in the United States.

2016, Klamath, California, United States   Collaborative and community-based mural created by 45 children, youth and adult members of the Yurok Tribe in the Klamath River region of Northern California, Yurok Tribe Courthouse, Yurok Tribe Reservation.2017, Center for Social and Global Engagement, Mary Baldwin University, Staunton, Virginia

"Convivio" Collaborative and community-based mural created by Walls of Hope artists collaborating with students of Mary Baldwin University

2017, "Let Me Flourish Once Again",    Collaborative and community-based mural project created by undocumented, Central American migrant minors, incarcerated in a maximum-security detention center in the United States.  

2017, Sucre, Colombia.” The Hard Task of Remembering",    Collaborative and community-based mural created by Walls of Hope artists expanding "The Perquin Model" working with survivors of the massacre of La Libertad, Sucre, Colombia, as part of the proposed Peace Accords and community building through art.

2017, Sucre, Colombia” Finding the Way to Peace”    Collaborative and community-based mural created by Walls of Hope artists expanding "The Perquin Model" working with displaced victims and victims of forced exiles from Mampujan, Sucre, Colombia, as part of the Peace Accords

2017, "Building Bridges from Our Origins,"    Collaborative and community-based mural developed and created by James Madison University students, DACA students, and undocumented migrant high school students from Harrisonburg, Virginia

2018, "Life Has More Than What I Can See Now,"    Collaborative and community-based mural painted by undocumented, incarcerated Central American migrant minors, in a maximum-security detention center in the United States.      

2018, Montes de Maria, Colombia “What We Don't Want to Remember",    Collaborative and community mural created by Walls of Hope artists expanding  "The Perquin Model" working with displaced victims, victims of forced exiles from Montes de María, as part of the Peace Accords

2018, Klamath, California, United States   Collaborative, community mural created by children, youth, and adult members of the Yurok Tribe in the Klamath River region of Northern California.           

2019, "Paths Taken and Others to Take",    Collaborative and community-based mural project created by Central American migrant minors, undocumented, incarcerated in a maximum-security detention center in the United States.

2019, Colosó, Colombia,   Collaborative and community-based mural painted by ex-combatants of the FARC, Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, and civilian victims of violence during the 52 yearlong civil war and armed conflict.

2020, "Silhouettes That Talk"    Collaborative and community-based mural project created by, , undocumented, incarcerated Central American migrant minors detained in a maximum-security detention center in the United States, using the zoom platform during the COVID pandemic

2021, "Voices From the Pandemic",    Collaborative and community mural project created by, undocumented, Central American migrant minors incarcerated in a maximum-security detention center in the United States, using the zoom platform during the COVID pandemic

2021/ 2022, Tegucigalpa, Honduras” El Modelo Perquin Llega a Honduras/ The Perquin Model Arrives to Honduras”, Collaborative and community-based art project focusing on murals, wood sculpture workshops and art created with recycled materials, facilitated by Walls of Hope artists and Youth Against Violence in Honduras.

Recommendations for replication and/or adaptation

The collaborative art model can be used in a variety of situations involving trauma and/or conflict for groups who wish to  preserve and learn from shared memory.  If a school district or community wants to adapt the Perquin model, they may utilize the following suggestions.

Art School Heals Guerilla Town's Wounds (WALLS OF HOPE)

www.youtube.com › watch

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dSuYfSSpm_4

4:52

 

Josué Rojas http://ceibaamericas.blogspot.com Walls of Hope The Art  of Art in the Community of Perquin ...

YouTube · Josue Rojas · Sep 7, 2012

Rabinal, February, 2009

Contact Information

Claudia Bernardi

510-653-5481

wallsofhope@gmail.com

www.wallsofhope.org

Facebook: Wallsofhope Perquin