Food of War Colombia

NOVEMBER 2019 - MARCH 2020


In 2010 artists Hernan Barros and Omar Castañeda founded the Food Of War Collective. The collective is dedicated to exploring the relationship between Food and Conflict through art. It is a Non-Profit initiative whose aims include creating art and events raising awareness about the impact of armed conflicts around the world. Food of War develops art, cultural and community projects using food to bond with the audience and relay their message.

Since 2010 Food of War have been travelling around the world, exploring conflicts and political circumstances where food plays a key role. The collective have exhibited in Spain, Germany, Ukraine, Mexico, Peru, Brazil and The United Kingdom, working with subjects as diverse as the Venezuelan Crisis and the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster and as guests in several international art fairs. Throughout these projects, Food of War collaborated with local artists on exhibitions, growing with their perspective and knowledge. Working with the community is an integral part of the collective's art practice, involving not only artists but also social causes related to the themes.


The Museum of Contemporary Art in Bogota, Colombia has invited the collective to create an exhibition taking over the entire museum from November 2019 until March 2020. Presenting the works of 16 artists including international, local and artists from the collective, the exhibition explores an international relationship between food and conflict. The founders of Food of War are Colombian immigrants living in London. Returning to their native Colombia this project marks the peak of an intense cycle. Barros and Castañeda feel an urgency to work with their home country especially in this turbulent political moment where the peace treaty of 2016 is under threat.

Food of War in Colombia marks the beginning of a new journey through which the collective and guest artists will be fuelled by the complexity of their home country’s history of food related conflict as well as its initiatives to bring healing and empowerment through working with food.

Food of War Collective:
Hernan Barros, Omar Castañeda, Zinaida Lihacheva, Simone Mattar & Quintina Valero
International Artists:
Sol Bailey-Barker, Juan Cabello, Nick Drake, Tomas Espinoza, Jwan Joseph & Raul Marroquin
Local Artists: Rafael Gomez Barros, Ingrid Cuestas, Juliana Gongora, Jose Ismael Manco, Adriana Ramirez, Jorge Luis Vaca
Curated by Gabriella Sonabend (UK) & Juan David Quintero (Colombia)

Previous Food of War projects with collective & guest artists.


Food of War have curated and produced 10 critically acclaimed international exhibitions in public and private institutions. The impact of these projects has been enormous with over 6000 visitors at their Chernobyl Commemoration Exhibition in Kiev and over 20,000 collectively over all of their projects. Food of War have worked with over 60 international artists and run over 100 workshops engaging with groups varying from refugees, conflict victims and survivors, immigrants, internally displaced people, children, elderly communities and general art and culture audiences. The power of their projects is far reaching. Each new project has attracted the attention of further international institutions asking the collective to bring Food of War to their countries. Each iteration of the show brings a deeper insight to the subject and with the help of guest artists and collaborators ranging from food experts and scientists to art researchers; the collective are building a global insight into the relationship between food and conflict.


Sculpture by Omar Castañeda


Colombia is one of the most resource rich and biodiverse countries on the planet. With an economy based on exportation of natural resources including oil, flowers and gold, Colombia has for centuries endured conflict connected to land distribution and exploitation of raw materials and those who have cultivated them.

Ranked in the top four for inequality, Colombia’s conflict has been tied to the misallocation of natural resources including crops, water and land. Food has been a key issue, connected to a lack of support for local farmers, the presence of paramilitary and guerrilla factions controlling large areas of land and furthermore the eradication programmes using biological warfare to eradicate plantations with the long-term affect of ruining soil and food crops.

Following the signing of a Peace Treaty in 2016, food has become the path to leave behind the war and embrace a new era in harmony not only with the environment but with each other. Initiatives to embrace new crops, innovative ways of trading and engaging with a global economy are a few of the strategies related to food as the route to leave the illegality and build a new Colombia. What once was the root of conflict, is now a reason to embrace peace.