The longest running civil war in recent history, which has left over 200,000 dead, grew out of partisan conflicts in the 1920s. By the 1960s, the conflict escalated into a complex civil war – pitting the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) against the Colombian Army and paramilitary groups often linked to drug cartels or domineering land owners. In 2010, Juan Manuel Santos was elected to the presidency and started secret negotiations with representatives of the FARC – yet when a final deal had been agreed upon, a referendum narrowly voted “No”. Santos went back to Havana to thrash out a new deal with the rebels and clinched an agreement that was unanimously approved by both houses of parliament in November 2016. In reality, this newfound peace was won on paper only and the coming years would show the true value of political accord when pitted against and the practicalities of reconciliation in a country with a deep-seated history of conflict.
Mads Nissen was born in Denmark in 1979 and graduated with distinction from The Danish School of Media and Journalism in 2007. After graduation, he moved to Shanghai to document the human and social consequences of China’s historic economic rise working for Time, Newsweek, Der Spiegel and Stern amongst others.
In 2015, his photograph of a gay couple from Russia was selected as World Press Photo of the Year and his work has received more than 60 awards, in 2018 he was named ‘Photographer of the Year’ for the third time in Denmark. In 2016, he was commissioned by the Nobel Peace Center to photograph Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos and the country’s struggle for peace.
Alongside his long-term projects and exhibitions, he has worked for the Danish daily Politiken since 2014. Two monographs of his work have been published previously, AMAZONAS (2013) and The Fallen (2010). Nissen is represented by Panos Pictures in the UK; Prospekt in Italy and by Laif in Germany.