Esencia Mapuche begins!

 

About this project

This February, photojournalist Brittany Peterson will journey from her home in northern Chile 2000 kilometers south to join Chilean painter May Garcés as they realize a mixed medium art project of a small Mapuche community in Puerto Saavedra.

Through May’s painting and my documentary photography, we aim to show human, emotive, beautiful moments of a small, intimate Mapuche community. Moments that show the more complete story, and that make us conscious of how an overabundance of negative images in the media is shaping stereotypes in our heads, and provoking actions in our hands.

As people who constantly seek to understand our role as global citizens, May and I want to use our art to help Chileans access these images and these moments, to teach us all to be better brothers and sisters, and to help put an end to justifying discrimination.

The Mapuche people of southern Chile have a sacred culture and connection with nature that has been disrespected continually, ever since the Spanish arrived to claim land for the Spanish throne. Today, the Chilean government and international corporations still exploit that land for profit. The last two decades has seen a movement of Mapuche activists defending what is left of their land and their rights.

Some activists have chosen to use violence as a means of making their voices heard. Yet this violent image has become the dominant concept of Mapuche people in Chilean society. This concept has created a dangerous culture of discrimination and oppression of the Mapuche people.

The Melton Foundation has already agreed to fund 60% of the project. We are asking that you help us achieve our goal of funding the rest.

After two weeks of producing art in the Mapuche community, we will immediately host an exhibition in the nearby city of Temuco, which is home to a diverse population of Chileans and Mapuches. We will also take the exhibition to at least two other major Chilean cities.

Among the photos and the paintings at the exhibition, we will also hang various clippings from magazines and newspapers that are examples of how Mapuches are regularly portrayed in mainstream media. This serves to juxtapose the images and to challenge modern portayals of the Mapuche people.

If you support this project, you are supporting the construction of peace in Chile. Thank you for your support.

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