Thousands in Colombia pose naked for US photographer Spencer Tunick

Agence France-Presse
Naked volunteers pose for photographer Spencer Tunick at Bolivar Square in Bogota, Colombia on June 5.
Naked volunteers pose for photographer Spencer Tunick at Bolivar Square in Bogota, Colombia on June 5.
John Vizcaino

American photographer Spencer Tunick, famous for his pictures of huge crowds of naked people, on Sunday convinced more than 6,000 Colombians to strip down in Bogota's main public square -- all in the name of peace.

The installation -- his largest in six years and his first in Bogota -- comes as the government in the conflict-torn country closes in on a peace deal with leftist rebels of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

"We are happy being naked, quiet and calm. This is a moment of peace and calm that we are all sharing. It's also a moment of unity, a time to eradicate prejudice," Claudia Barrientos, a 40-something participant, told AFP.

Carlos Beltran, in his 20s, called it a "great" event.

"It was a totally different experience in my life, and I think we are all experiencing the same thing -- shedding our clothes and being as we were when we entered this world," Beltran said.

In an interview with AFP ahead of Sunday's installation, Tunick said his aim was to "just show the body as a beautiful organic entity that transforms the space, the governmental space of the square."

He had some participants pose at various heights. Some of them almost seemed to be suspended in mid-air.

"It's an honor to be here at this moment when life is changing and hopefully a peace agreement will be signed," he said.

Bolivar Square is home to Colombia's congress, city hall, supreme court and a major cathedral.

In Colombia, a diverse country with deep inequalities and roots in Europe, Africa and the Americas, Tunick said he was hoping his photo shoot would attract "an alphabet soup of skin tonalities, ethnicities, people from all walks of life."

The Colombia conflict, which began in the aftermath of a peasant uprising in the 1960s, has killed 260,000 people and uprooted 6.6 million over more than half a century.