Broken by Drugs

by Farid de la Ossa Arrieta


How did it get here?

In late January 2006, I asked Farid de la Ossa Arrieta if he would like to draw a piece on drugs in Latin America so that it could be exhibited on DrugStrat. He, kindly, said yes, and you can admire the result above. Farid and I had met through DrugStrat (the exhibition of children's drawings on Plan Colombia drew his attention) a few months earlier, and since then Farid had been sending me his artwork whenever he had completed a new drawing. I thought his style was great, and each new sketch I have received has ended up as a background pic on the desktop of my Mac.

Who is the author?

This is how Farid de la Ossa describes himself:
I can tell you that I am from Colombia. I come from Sincelejo, a town on the Atlantic coast in that country. My parents are from there and they are still living there. I am the only one of my family living here in the US. Nowadays, I am finishing a Master of Divinity program at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago (US).
I have been in Chicago for four years and a half because of a religious community I joined called the Claretians, with which I am going to be a brother and I have done some work for poor Hispanics in the US. If you want to know more about me, you can go to a website in which somebody, who got interested in my story, published some of it and my artwork. This is the webli

What does the drawing mean?

This is how Farid explains his drawing:
Most of the times I use the mandala format (a circle) as the framework for my artwork. However, by the request of a friend (Laurent Laniel from DrugStrat), I was asked to make an art piece on drugs in Latin America, and in that case I could not use the mandala format because drugs is an issue that has broken the harmony of the lives of many Latin-American families like a glass breaks when it drops. Because of that I decided to figure out a new framework for my artwork, which I named ‘broken mandala’ (pieces of a circle spread all over) by using color pencils, color pastels and black ink. With this new framework I made this art piece by naming it ‘Broken by Drugs.’ In this specific case I included the outline of the map of Latinamerica, green pieces of glass, which represent the broken hope of Latin Americans because of the effect of drugs. I also added some other issues that have to do with drugs like people from anti-narcotics, drug pills, drug powder, injections, packages with drugs. In the middle of all this collection of elements I placed the figures of a man and a woman, without faces and with a very sad posture, which are the symbols of all the Latinos(as) whose lives have been disturbed or damaged by the effect of drugs. All these elements are embedded in a very red background that looks like rivers of blood, which is the representation of all the blood of all the innocent people that have died due to the confrontations between the narcotrafficants and the governments of the whole continent of Latinoamerica, including the Latinos(as) that live in the US.”


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