Laura Gonzales Fernandez

Shadows of a Memory

I have my best memories growing up in Colombia because maybe as a child every memory and emotion is heightened, for good or bad. My memories from childhood are the ones I cherish the most and they keep me afloat and secure. But nothing was ever easy and as usual, when you are a child you don’t really see the scope of things and the reality of the moment. Adults try to sugarcoat and romanticize your environment because being a child means you are innocent and incapable of understanding the harsh realities of life. Once I immigrated to the United States in 2015 I began to acknowledge how much I loved my country which I never felt before. It’s one of those instances where you don’t realize how much you care about something until you lose it. But as you grow up, you also start to think critically and uncover hard truths that were hidden from you. The wars, the death, the scars, the victims, the scandals, the oligarchies, and the corruption behind each government. I began to read, to see, to learn and apply them into my artwork which started to become socio-political as I learned more about Colombia.

This story is a way to talk about the experiences of many people, but also to acknowledge the fact that children have a beautiful way of experiencing things, seeking to acknowledge both the good and the bad out of every situation. Forced displacement is an issue that still hunts and scars Colombian history but something that not many people know about, which is the reason for creation. This story is not only the story of Colombians but it is also the story of many people that have been affected by forced displacement and violence, leaving home and finding hope somewhere else. This book is a homage to my people and our resilience.