Volume 24, Issue 2
  • ISSN 1387-6740
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9935
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Visual representations are powerful vehicles for the transmission of collective memory and the processing of traumatic events (Zelizer, 1998). But how do images create narrative, particularly in context of a traumatic past? This paper analyzes two visual narratives created by national truth commissions in Guatemala and Peru. Drawing from various theories of visual narrative and visual grammar, mainly Eisner (1985), McCloud (1993), Kress and Van Leeuwen (2006), and Cohn (2013), this paper analyzes how each project used visuals — photography and illustrations — to create the building blocks of narrative: characters, setting, and plot. It compares and contrasts the two projects in terms of how they depict the main actors in the conflicts, as well as the main events and the overall visual narrative structure. Finally, this paper discusses the potential benefits and drawbacks of each medium as a post-traumatic tool.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): conflict resolution; drawing; photography; trauma; truth commissions; visual narrative
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