In memoriam – Laura Ramírez Palacio

It is with a heavy heart that we have to say goodbye to our dear comrade and friend Laura Ramírez Palacio who left us recently. A talented artist and researcher, she was an active member of the research project Partisan Resistance(s) [Ré.Part]. In 2019, during the inaugural event of the Ré.Part project (International Conference Solidarités transnationales et culture visuelle) she presented a paper that analysed the aesthetic and formal characteristics of visual artefacts of solidarity and propaganda, defining their impact on the social constructions of childhood. In the final part of this contribution, entitled Visual reverberations: mapping solidarity networks with Nicaragua and El Salvador in the 1980s, Laura talked about Patango, a child combatant who shatters the paradigms of the bearded guerrilla with starred beret. In her article Infancia y revolución. Reflexiones sobre la figura del niño combatiente dentro de las narrativas visuales revolucionarias y de liberación a partir los casos de Nicaragua y El Salvador en la década de 1980 for this special issue “Partisan Genealogies: Radical Visual (and Policial) Practices” of Artl@s bulletin Patango returns; this time within a dense and well-articulated argument regarding the narratives of revolutionary visual tools and their multidirectionality that emerged from her transatlantic research and conversations and that testifies to her acute sensibility and strong personal engagement.

Laura’s critical acumen, her enthusiasm and intellectual generosity were invaluable to Ré.Part, the project within which we shared concerns, reflections, and experiences throughout several years. Due to the CoVid Pandemic, some of our meetings were online, thus providing also visual access to our private spaces; Laura had always her home-atelier as a backdrop, integrating her drawings and creativity to our intellectual exchanges. Many of the artworks she had created in the midst of the pandemic, and which became next to her faithful dog Arroz a familiar image, would be exhibited shortly afterwards in Madrid and Turin; others had already travelled to Berlin, Zurich and Bogotá. Laura’s home-atelier reflected her profound intellectual and emotional life and one could see their echoes and impulses reverberating from the walls, in various pencil drawings whose strokes had frozen and in others that were in full dance.

Her artwork gave voice to the innocence and vulnerability of infancy, a preoccupation that is also visible in her research and that led to her to embark on an ambitious Ph.D. project on the child soldiers in revolutionary Central America out of which came multiple scholarly articles—courageous as the one of this special issue. Her work as an artist as well as that of a researcher embodied the assertion of Walter Benjamin that: “It is more arduous to honour the memory of the nameless than that of the renowned” and exemplifies his conviction that “Historical construction is devoted to the memory of the nameless”.

Today, we want to pay tribute to her by showing, along with her research, a glimpse of her artistic work.
Hasta siempre compañera!

These four drawings are part of Laura Ramirez Palacio’s personal archive and they were executed between 2015 and 2022. All of them are done in graphite, ink and oil on Mylar Paper.