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Dynamic Tension

Video, 2017
14 min, 23 sec.

Dynamic Tension, is a 14 minute and 23 second video of the practice of an exercise routine to tone the muscles, whereby I remember my father in one of his activities as a youth. The admiration and fascination I have for the human body as an expressive medium and a territory to explore, are engines of my self-analysis on a physical, mental and spiritual level. Through performance, I reach deep states of reflection which awaken in me new levels of consciousness, thus developing compassion towards myself and others.

Being born and raised in Medellin, Colombia, was a gift full of joys, challenges, and lessons. Unfortunately, due to the rise of drug trafficking in the 1980s, there was a progressive increase in kidnappings, homicides, massacres, and violence, which generated fears, anguishes and tensions within myself. The prevailing attitude was one of defensiveness, and a forced silence before the risk of free expression.

In Dynamic Tension, I prepare for a fight, to defend myself against all the violent thoughts that go through my mind. In preparation for battle, my body expresses strength and endurance, but also vulnerability. Similarly, the ambiguity of my gestures during these exercises enables the perception of both the role of the victim and the victimizer.

Delicately wrapping one of my hands and my chest in sheep’s wool expresses the desire to protect myself and to heal my wounds. However, the bandage of the hand is also preparation for the fight. At first, the fragility of the fiber requires it to be treated with care. Once it begins to be felted, it becomes resistant and can be strongly massaged. A paradox of protection and liberation is presented in the process of construction of this ‘second skin’—when shrinking, it becomes an armor that is impossible to carry, and instead of protecting, it hurts.❞

Born in Medellín, Colombia, Pilar Escobar grew up surrounded by artists and musicians. Her parents always encouraged her to develop her creativity, and have a positive outlook despite the surrounding context of fear and violence.  Escobar studied music, fashion design, textiles, and hairdressing, fostering the hybridity which underlies her artistic practice. For the artist, action art enables a dialogue between textiles, dance, speech, song, and theater, as well as a confrontation of materials, such as, wool, silk, hair, onion peels, menstrual blood, clothing, and even horses’ manes.  Exploring gesture and movement as modes of emotional expression, she utilises performance to highlight a self-determined corporeality. Ritual and intimacy are also recurrent themes in her practice. While ever-conscious of the past, she tackles everyday subjects in response to questions about her current life in Canada and her country of birth.   She writes, ‘I dig down into my flesh, bones, and marrow in order to reach the light of my interior body.  I plunge far into memory in order to face and accept the parts of myself which give me the most fear.’

Maria Del Pilar Escobar


Bachelor’s degree in Visual Arts. Université du Québec à Montréal. 2016-2019

Certificate degree in Visual Arts. Université du Québec à Montréal. 2015

Bachelor’s degree in Fashion Design. Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana (UPB), Medellín, Colombia. 1997-2002


Des rencontres. Fem International. Montréal-Canada. 2013

Todo tiene sentido (Everything makes sense). The multi-creative space, Medellín-Colombia. 2010


We made silence speak. He did not show himself. Rad Hourani, Montréal. Commissaire: Philippe Bourdeau. 2019

La somme de distances (The sum of distances). 2701 Ontario, as part of the UQAM graduation project, Montréal-Canada. 2019

Paramètres XVIII. Espace culturel Georges-Émile Lapalme at Place des Arts, Montreal-Canada. 2019

En chantier (Under construction), as part of the UQAM graduation project, Montréal-Canada. 2019

Nous les Nomades (We nomads). Exhibition with the collective N.N, Galerie ESPACE. Montréal- Canada. 2018

Re. Exhibition with the collective N.N, Center for the dissemination of experimentation. CDEx UQAM, Montréal- Canada. 2018

Todo tiene sentido II (Everything makes sense II), Quebec’s week for adults in training, Écomusée du Fier Monde, Montréal- Canada. 2013

Des paysages humains (Human landscapes) Journées de la culture, Galerie de la Compagnie F, Montréal – Canada. 2012

Todo tiene sentido I (Everything makes sense I), International Felt Day. Felt United. 2012


Canto pa’ Pilar , canto p’Escobar (Song for Pilar, song for Escobar). Université du Québec à Montréal. 2019

Escobar. The Frame Guesthouse. Georgetown, Penang-Malaysia. 2019

Canto Manigua. (Song Manigua). Ritual song in the memory of the artist David Thomas. Radio Atelier, 101.5, CIBL, Montréal. 2019

Corps en action (Bodies in action). Université de Québec à Montréal, with the collaboration of artist David Tomas. 2019

Es una tortura no poder hablar (It’s Torture not Being Able to Speak). Performance and voice (sound installation), as part of the day of remembrance and solidarity with the victims of the armed conflict in Colombia, Performing Listening lab, project of Luis Carlos Sotelo Castro. Concordia University. 2018 and 2019


Creative residency with the collective N.N at UQAM Nature Access Center, Quebec, September 21, 22 and 23, 2018


Participant in the BMO First Works competition, Montreal-Canada. 2019

Mosaïque. Performer for Theater of Operations, , Place des Arts, Montreal-Canada. 2019

Banzo Sons: Between Silence and the Word. Solo and collective performances directed by the artist Marianna Marcassa. Concordia, Montreal-Canada. 2018 and 2019

I political. Sculpture, costumes and voice for a choreographic project by dancer Mateo Galindo. Toronto-Canada. 2018

Microscoped. Performance for short film. Director: Alexandre Martini., Montreal-Canada. 2017

Emergenza Music Festival. Singer of the group ENVEZ, Montreal-Canada. 2016

Syli d´Or World Music Festival. Singer of the group ENVEZ, Montreal-Canada. 2014 to 2016

Blackboard. Performance and art direction in short film, Director: Alexandre Martini. Montreal-Canada. 2013


AFÉA grant for collective exhibition “Nous les Nomades”. 2018

Explore Program Scholarship for English Language Learning. Victoria-British Columbia and Ottawa-Canada. 2015 and 2018

Grant awarded by LOJIQ (Les Offices jeunesse internationaux du Québec). First mission exploratory in Bolivia within FITEX (Bolivian textile fair) in collaboration with Fem International and COTEXBO (Bolivian textile conglomerate). 2013


“Metacuerpo” (Cover). The Apostles Review, vol 22. Montreal-Canada. 2019

“Le chemin de l’Oignon” Corps et resistances, Vol.22, no 1, 2017-2018, Spring 2019, P.214 Fémin Études, UQAM Magazine.

“Metacorpo”. Métamorphose, no 14, Fall 2018, L’organe, Concordia University French Magazine.


Viva art Action, Performer at the VIVA Kitchen for the artist’s work in residence David Sebastián López Restrepo, Montreal. 2019

Living model for drawing sessions with artist Antonio Cerdán. 2016

Animator of felting workshops at Fem international, workshop facilitator awareness raising among young people. Another Way of Acting. Customer service at Ethike BGC, Montreal- Canada. 2013 to 2015


Training for working in long-term care homes, or CHSLDs. École des métiers des Faubourgs-de-Montréal. 2020

Afro-Colombian dance workshop. Kumbé workshops Montreal- Canada. 2020

Boxing workshop. 2018

Butô workshop with the dancer Yesenia Fuentes. 2018

Vocal technique with singer Ana María Escobar. Medellín-Colombia. 2016 to 2018

Batik workshop with artisans in Yogyakarta-Indonesia. 2017

Contemporary dance workshop. UQAM. 2016

Traditional Colombian dance workshops. Danza descalza. Montreal-Canada. 2017 to 2020

Vocal technique workshop with singer Mamselle Ruiz. Montreal-Canada. 2016

Contemporary dance workshop. Montreal university. Montreal-Canada. 2016

Introductory course in Machine Knitting. Cégep Vieux-Montréal. Montreal -Canada. 2013

Plant dye workshops with Julie André from Infuse Textile. Montreal -Canada. 2012 and 2014

Felting and textile intervention workshop. Nerja Gallery, Buenos Aires, Argentina. 2009

Hairdressing workshop. Pivot Point- EBA Training Center- Buenos Aires, Argentina. 2009


Member of the Commission for Truth Clarification, Coexistence and Non-Repetition in Colombia, Montreal-Canada. 2018 to 2019

Trainee on development cooperation. Ayacucho – Perú. 2013