A friendly middle-aged Chilean told us in #LaSerena (Chile – central coastal area), that when the US & UK backed military coup in Chile occurred on 11th September 1973, afterwards the dictatorship of General Pinochet “turned off the art”. All art & political slogans were cleared from walls across the country (and ‘art’ generally was repressed), and so it stayed for many years. Since the end of the dictatorship in 1990, from what we can see Chileans have been making up for lost time! Street art & painting remains technically illegal unless you have the permission of the ‘wall owner’, but given the number of individuals & small groups we’ve seen busy in the streets then it’s a law that’s about as ineffective as, say, the law banning cannabis in the UK. (See pics gallery below).
The first lot of street art murals we saw inland had a strong indigenous cultural influence, along with some slightly trippy & comedic effects. But here in La Serena along with those, we’ve also seen a heap of overtly political sloganeering & postering. The focus here has been on the Mapuche struggle & prisoners, on environmental struggles especially against projects linked to the IIRSA programme, on education, and general freedoms. The gallery below starts on politics and moves on. But first some links about the Mapuche & IIRSA:
Mapuche – a basic run through of Mapuche history on wikipedia (longer version in spanish)
‘The Mapuche People in Post-Dictatorship Chile‘ is a well researched paper with a focus on Mapuche (self) organisation – in english & french.
Current list of 37 Mapuche political prisoners here and also here.
Also worth a read a history of the now extinct Changos culture/people.
IIRSA – the Initiative for the Integration of the Regional Infrastructure of South America started in 2000 and is essentially a corporate development plan backed by huge resources & political power. It now attracts massive criticism for its top-down nature, lack of any sense of integration, and major environmental impact/damage. More info….
Intro to IIRSA from wikipedia also in spanish.
A critique of IIRSA from 2015
Excellent video (from Utube, 43 mins, in spanish ‘La Infraestructura de la Devastación. Saqueo Recursos Naturales en Sudamérica’) on the environmental impacts.