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House of Desaparecidxs | Paula Chaves Bonilla

“There is a zone of nonbeing, an extraordinarily sterile and arid region, an utterly naked declivity where an authentic upheaval can be born” (Frantz Fanon)

A hooded character named La ChicaScratch embarks on a transgenerational trip to uncover the hidden story of her mother as a young militant activist in 1970’s Colombia. Through it she reflects on her own journey: the dark reasons that led her to escape Colombia into political exile in the Netherlands ten years ago.

Paula Chaves Bonilla’s new performance House of Desaparecidxs is her testimony among thousands of other Colombians who fled their country in order to save their lives. People who had no other choice than to leave their homeland after being threatened for their political affiliations, for being sexual dissidents, community leaders or for seeking justice for criminalized, disappeared or murdered loved ones. House of Desaparecidxs opens its doors to these censored stories; we enter a utopian space in which we travel through non-linear memories of the present, future and past – narrowing the border between the realm of life and death.

A beautifully designed, multi-layered performance: an engaging and appealing tribute to those individuals that dare to speak out, and also as an ode to those who cannot or could not – open and moving.” – Karin Veraart (Theaterkrant)

Resistance in exile
House of Desaparecidxs traces a lineage and space of belonging through communities, people and stories that resist the voracious necropolitics of capitalism and dignify life through solidarity and collective actions. The performance emerges as a technology of resistance in exile, and devises a way to reestablish dialogue with origins and histories. It refuses the destruction of memory (memoricide) so common in conditions of exile and the neoliberal contemporary subject.

About Paula Chaves Bonilla

Paula Chaves Bonilla (she/they) is a Colombian artist and activist based in Amsterdam. She has a background in contemporary dance, choreography, theatre and circus and now works as a dance and theatre maker across these disciplines. Her artistic research explores embodiments of denouncement, resistance and disobedience within contexts of censorship and surveillance.

Since 2015, Paula has been creating a series of works on the proximity between contemporary art production & neoliberal capitalism, which resulted in: Paraart (2015), Against the Wall (2017) and Omni Toxica (2019).

Paula Chaves Bonilla is currently a House Artist at Veem House for Performance, artist in residency at the Creative Crossroads program within the Life Long Burning dance network, member of the ‘Climate Justice Code for artists and art institutions’ (a project initiated by Casco) and co-founder of Papaya Kuir (an Intersectional feminist collective for & by Trans & Queer Lesbian Latinx Asylum seekers/migrants in The Netherlands).


Concept & performance
Paula Chaves Bonilla
Natalia Chaves Lopez
Ogutu Muraya
Nadia Bekkers
Scenographic Painting
Somatic Movement research guidance
Lux Sauer
Outside eye
Natalia Sorzano
Light design
Mathisse Coornaert
Technical support
Erik Gramberg
Political Cartel compilation and rap selector
Production Assistance
Lina Lanas
Video Animation
Rowena Buur
Vincent van Woerkom
Produced by
Veem House for Performance
Co-produced by
ICI-CCN de Montpellier – Occitanie as part of Life Long Burning project supported by the European commission



Introducing Veem’s House Artist: Paula Chaves Bonilla!

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