Ulises Unda: Silenced Memories

ulises-exhibition Small    © Juan Andrés Bello 2018

A Thesis Project Exhibition

August 6-12, 2018
Reception: Thursday, August 9 / 7-9PM

Satellite Project Space
121 Dundas St
Gallery Hours: 12 – 5 pm

Fleeing government repression, 43,000 Salvadoran campesinos arrived in refugee camps in Honduras during the Salvadoran Civil War (1979-1992). In this exhibition, former refugees, massacre survivors, and their younger relatives tell us about their wartime experiences of violent repression, massacres, and forced exile by the US-backed Salvadoran military.

This exhibition complements a series of collaborative endeavors presented during my Ph.D. studies in the Department of VisualArts at Western University and reflects on the political intentionality of listening. In this reflection, listening with/in the body is assumed as a mode of knowing in relation with others, and is thus capable of crafting resonant public spaces where the return of subaltern and silenced voices become s possible.

The conceptualization of Silenced Memories has grown from my involvement with “Refugees and Surviving Memory in Postwar El Salvador,” a collaborative, interdisciplinary research initiative led by Dr. Amanda Grzyb, associate professor of Information and Media Studies at Western University. This research project is funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, and the Faculty of Information and Media Studies and the Office of the Vice-President (Research) at Western University.

The photo-narratives and soundtracks included in Silenced Memories were produced during a community curation workshop (October 2017), and a soundscape workshop (April 2018) that I led in Suchitoto and Copapayo, El Salvador, respectively. These expand upon my commitment to addressing conceptual approaches to sound practices that inform the analytical core of my doctoral research while contributing to the production of material memory. Such processes can assistSalvadoran war victims in their still unmet calls for justice, reparation, and reconciliation.

The photograph was taken at our“Surviving Memory in Postwar El Salvador” refugee memory workshops in Copapayo in April 2018 and shows part of an exhibition of archival images taken by aid workers and journalists in La Virtud and Mesa Grande refugee camps in the 1980s. Left and right photos: courtesy of Meyer Brownstone; centre photo, courtesy of Linda Hess Miller.