EF Photo / Culture
Painting Over Death
Víctor Peña

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Víctor Peña

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In the last six years, Salvadoran authorities have pulled 10 people from the ground of this abandoned lot in the hamlet of Palo Negro in Coatepeque, Santa Ana. In 2016, they found the remains of four people previously reported missing. The next year, a massacre took the lives of a former police officer, the son of another ex-patrolman, and two alleged gang members. In the same two years authorities found another pair of unidentified bodies.

Three years later, in December 2020, Abraham Osorio stumbled upon the crumbling brick wall of what had once been a home on the same gloomy plot of land. He painted the eyes of a woman. His mural, named Mirage, peeks over the treeline along kilometer 50 of the Panamerican Highway, on the road from Santa Ana to the capital, San Salvador.

Osorio calls his body of work “abandoned art.” To find his open-air canvases, he scours deserted rural areas with a tragic past for housing left in shambles by the ravages of time and humankind. He paints their macabre façades with touches of vibrancy, resilience, and beauty.

*Translated by Roman Gressier

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