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House of Desaparecidxs (House of Missing People)

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.

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.

11 November 2021

20:00 — 21:30
try-out / sold out

12 November 2021

20:00 — 21:30

13 November 2021

20:00 — 21:30

14 November 2021

16:00 — 17:30

Click here for the current COVID-19 regulations.

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).

Context program

Aftertalk | November 13th
After the performance on Saturday the 13th we host an after talk with Paula Chaves Bonilla and her collaborator Rasureitor. Sharing more about the extensive research Paula did in Colombia, and the context of the Colombian National strike – as it was against the backdrop of these rumbling voices taking the streets of Bogotá that House of Desaparecidxs was created.

Colombian Political Rap | November 12th + 13th
After the performance on Friday the 12th and Saturday the 13th of November, Rasureitor brings music and art from the streets of Colombia to Veem House. She will play a DJ-set of Colombian political rap, just like she did at various demonstrations in Colombia during the National strike. Through these rap songs, she aims to bring alive the voices of those who suffer firsthand from lack of resources, hunger, and death.

Exhibition: Political Cartel | Whole month (November)
Colombian artist Rasureitor presents a collection of posters that they gathered during different demonstrations and protests within the Colombian National strike of 2021.

This assembly of posters manifests the voices of the people, who took the streets after decades of fear and silencing. They are the work of various graphic collectives that joined in visualizing popular claims for the defense of life, the territory, and the people.


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
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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