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The UNE Biddeford Campus Art Gallery presents “ZERO ~los desplazados de Colombia, photography in black and white”

ZERO Series, MORNING –Altos de la Florida Cundinamarca, Colombia
ZERO Series, MORNING –Altos de la Florida Cundinamarca, Colombia

December 22, 2016

ZERO Series, WORK –Buenavista Chocó, Colombia
ZERO Series, WORK –Buenavista Chocó, Colombia

The University of New England’s Biddeford Campus Ketchum Library Art Gallery is pleased to announce a new exhibition, ZERO ~los desplazados de Colombia, photography in black and white by Robert Pennington, running from January 26 through March 1, 2017. 

ZERO is an intimate study that examines the lives of Colombia’s desplazados (displaced). It is a story about people; those who are disenfranchised and often invisible.

Latin America’s oldest democracy is home to the world’s longest-running civil war. And, after more than 52 years of conflict, currently has 6.9 million internally displaced persons — more than any other country on the planet. Equally disturbing is that no one knows! ZERO gives face and voice to los desplazados de Colombia. It is an exploration of life after displacement, a story about courage, resilience and the willingness to begin anew.

The title, ZERO, surfaced while researching Colombia's history with social stratification (16c.) and its current system of estratos (strata), which ranks people from six (highest) to one (lowest). The system was introduced in the 1980’s as a way to identify and provide essential services at affordable rates to the poor. A system once designed to help poor communities has instead marginalized an entire class of Colombians. On one of my first trips to the barrio of Altos de la Florida in Soacha, I met un desplazado who said to me, “I am strato ZERO!”

During the run of this exhibition, there will be two educational programs:

  • Pennington will present a public talk at 6:30 p.m. on February 2, 2017 in the UNE Art Gallery in the Ketchum Library on the UNE Biddeford Campus at 11 Hills Beach Road, Biddeford, Maine. Topics will include the political climate in Colombia at present, the current Peace Accord with Las FARC (the largest left-wing guerilla faction in Colombia) and Pennington’s process as a documentarian, Q/A to follow.
  • Pennington will address the student body at UNE on February 8, 2017 at 5:30p.m. The event is open to the public, and will be tailored for the students/faculty of the Latin American Studies Department and the Office of Civic Engagement. Topics: Pennington's process as a documentary photographer, stories from the displaced and the why, when and how of ZERO, Q/A to follow.

The UNE Biddeford Campus, Ketchum Library Art Gallery is free of charge and open to the public. Hours of operation, when UNE is in session: Sunday-Saturday 8 a.m.-9 p.m.

Read a review of the exhibition in the Portland Press Herald

For more information, please visit


To apply, visit

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