Art is often used to communicate how one is feeling at any given moment, and for many artists it was how they conveyed the pain and suffering in El Salvador during its civil war.
Martivon Galindo, professor of Latin and Latino/a studies at Holy Name College, spoke on several artists’ work, including her own, and how they coped with being exiled from their home country May 8 in Riley 201.
Galindo has written four books since being in the United States, and her artwork has been on display in exhibits in the United States, El Salvador and Japan.
Each of the pieces of artwork shown focused on the pain and loss the country was going through. With many of the artists being exiled, they traveled to the United States. Upon her arrival into the United States, Galindo had a deep hatred for the country.
“[At the time], I couldn’t distinguish between the government and the people,” Galindo said.
Galindo found herself in San Francisco, where she and her son rebuilt their lives with the help of the other exiles in the area.
“I was a political exile and had a small child with me, I had no idea what to do or where to go,” Galindo said while visiting the PLACE program class, “Revolutions: 20th Century Latin America” on May 8.
Once finding help in San Francisco, Galindo began to heal through expressing the pain and suffering she had experienced in paintings and poetry.
“I had this friend, and she was taken away, and I never knew what happened to her. I still don’t,” Galindo said after reading a poem she dedicated to this friend.
There were many people who disappeared during the Salvadorian Civil War, and their families still have no idea what happened to them or whether they’re even alive.
“It was a terrible to live there. Some of my classmates had become Guerillas,” Galindo said. “There was a terror that anything could happen.”
Art helped Galindo, and many like her, survive the memories and aftermath of the war.
“Art kept me alive,” Galindo said. “The memories were terrible, and people asked me why I didn’t just try to forget them. But I didn’t want to forget.”
Kaylyn Peterson can be reached at