Street Art: Museo a Cielo Abierto

 

Largest collection of streetart in Chile

The Museo a Cielo Abierto is located in San Miguel, originally a settlement housing the families of copper mine (MADECO & MADEMSA) workers that today houses some 7000 people.  In 2010, it was falling into disrepair, classed as one of the most populated areas in the Metropolitana region and prophesized to die in 50 years.  Many of the buildings suffered from damage, electrical faults and issues with plumbing. It caught the eye of artists from the MIXART cultural centre, who proposed painting the gigantic murals to residents which was enthusiastically accepted. Extraordinarily, many residents – young, old and from different walks of life – became involved during the endeavor, while the artists themselves collaborated even though they too were known for different styles and from different worlds. The paintings were put onto the most vulnerable buildings, in a sense ´immunizing´ them from further decay, intended as a way to show the world that the people of the area care about their home. This work concluded in 2014.

40 murals that tower on 80m2 apartment blocks

Created by national and international artists, these murals are gigantic.  Many face the road but others you find by walking around the complexes, or painted onto bus stops and other building walls.  Ten of these murals allude directly to Chile and its history, with some being quite political, while seventeen have a free theme expressing ´a love of pure art´.  Last word on the artwork always came down to the residents; ROA, from Belgium, who is known for his macabre style, had his original design (horse eaten by piranhas) rejected.

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Horse by Roa (Belgium)

Artists include Colectivo La Mano: Basti and Jano, Aislap, 12 Brillos Crew, Lo Rekolectivo Ha: Gesak, Santiago Under Crew, Charquipunk + Larobotdemadera, Cruda, Depanité, Agotok, Echoes, Kata Núñez, Jamberta, Roa, Colectivo A La Pinta, Soledad and Sofrenia, Salazart and Inti.

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This mural by Jamberta (Germany) depicts the feelings and frustrations that parents unwittingly pass on to their children (as seen in the words painted on her face). The girl is looking with nostalgia at the flower as it only has nature and the wind to shape it.
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The Offering by Ian
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Resignation by acclaimed Chilean artist, Inti

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Dia del Joven Combatiente (Day of the Young Fighter) by Dasic
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Humanidad by Degra, Nao, Teo, Yono and Mona
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One of the first murals.  This one inspired the locals as it depicts the popular band, Los Prisoneros, who came from this area.
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By duo Aislap, this mural depicts the symmetry of native cultures. In the center there is a Mapuche machi (healer) who is surrounded by Aymara, Rapa Nui (Easter Island), the Ona (of Tierra del Fuego, now extinct) and the ¨digital man¨ who represents the emerging culture of today´s technological world.

More Information

Metro: Departamental

Parking: On the street

Other: The murals are located within a poblacion. While the area is perfectly safe in the day, it is recommended to be vigilant with your personal security and belongings.

Tours: Miles & Smiles Chile offer private guided tours in English and Spanish.  This trip can be combined with the Palacio Cousiño.

 

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Mummy Diaries: When It Doesn´t Work

Tomorrow is Mothers Day! On my street there is a party amosphere in the air and next door Jose’s family have prepared a lavish display of bouquets and ubiquetous roses to sell to our unprepared neighbours.   I have no doubt that the usual empanadas and ceviche delights will make an appearance later, or that they will sell like hot cakes.

In Santiago, any cause for celebration (and sales) are clutched at with fervour. Easter is the same, so was Dia del Nino, a holiday followed with gusto and which I’d never even heard about before coming here.

I don’t like the forced and commercial aspects of manufactured days such as Mothers Day, but I do like the idea of taking a moment to thank and honour loved ones.  Particularly mothers who, thanks to ridiculous societal expectations, often feel like they do 1001 things without much notice. Men have an equal role in the household of course, but it’s safe to say that their a difference between the male and female modus operandi.

Luis avoids birthdays, dreads Christmas and shuns all other “special days”. He really doesn’t have to – saying thank you does not have to come with expensive gifts or a diminished bank balance. Although this day is dedicated to all the hardworking mamas out there (YOU!), I’m about to break protocol and say gracias to the daddy in our household. It is thanks to Luis’ business-savvy ideas and hard slogs at night in the taxi that I have been fortunate enough to work part-time over the past year and be at home with Emilio after my studies concluded.  This is the same hardworking individual who has been robbed at knifepoint and threatened in front of the barrel of a gun over the years – driving a taxi is not a picnic. Thanks to Luis we own two houses and I have been able to discover areas of Chile that are rarely seen by expats, let alone tourists.

The last three months have been a time of unbearable tension in our home, and not really through any fault of ours, either. In a nutshell, we bought a car to rent out as a taxi (as we have done three other times before), of which we needed to buy the rights seperately. Thanks to Santiago’s congestion and pollution problem, there is now a limit to how many taxis can be officially on the road so it is now no longer possible to buy new taxi permission. The normal practice now is to thus buy the papers secondhand.  Luis took out a bank loan to do this, of CLP$9 million. This seems like a lot, but once rented out the taxi basically pays for itself and creates quite a good income (or it did before Uber!). Luis found rights that matched our model of car , met with the owner and went with her to the notaria in San Miguel.  Once there, the notary checked all the documents, said all was hunky dory and cleared Luis to pay the woman. Luis did so. But one month later the notary had gone silent and nothing had been processed. Luis was livid and concerned as that meant that nothing had been transferred into his name and so therefore the car was sitting in the yard … and still a car. The bank loan still needed to be paid.  A lawyer advised us to speak to the head notary himself and demand compensation for our loss of business but, while the man admitted the mistake, he laughed at the thought of handing out money. Another months laters and Luis was positively shitting himself, especially as the police called to say that actually the ID and some of the documents were as fake as Kim Kardashians face  and that he was actually number 5 on the list of taxistas previously scammed.  Thanks to the ridiculous delay in transferring titles, all camera footage at the notary and the bank had been deleted and the notary worker who had authorised the documents had up and vanished.  All the while this was happening the bank was hounding us to make repayments on the loan that we now couldn’t possibly afford …

Luis has since been in and out of the police, hassling them and making statements. An investigation has been launched and the police are finally taking it seriously, particularly due to the grave implications the notary’s involvement infers.  Around the same time two of our cars needed to have extensive repairs done after being crashed by careless drivers, while all our other bills mounted. It’s been a time of unprecedented stress, especially as it came at the same time as 1) my recovery from last year’s attack 2) the quiet time for my work and 3) the awful sickness that my finally falling pregnant heralded (think vomiting blood every ten minutes). To add further difficulty, Luis had just started university as well.

We have fought and cried and despaired and hated the sight of each other and had long absences … but still we survive. We have been together only five years but in that time we have lived through two long distance relationships, travelled together, lived apart, lived together, and also suffered together when our son became gravely ill.  We are together still because we genuinely enjoy each others company and balance the other’s faults out. There’s no-one else I want to be with and I am so thankful that he is the father of my children. I honestly respect and love him, and it breaks my heart to see him struggle.

We are not going to stay in Chile, in fact once we are able we will head out on a new adventure. But through it all and no matter what I will stand by Luis during successes and mistakes, through happiness and hardships. No importa that tomorrow is the Dia de la Mama, I would not be a mother without Luis and I am thankful for every moment that we have.

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Our Miles & Smiles venture has helped enormously as we have been able to do something with the car, so I would like to take this moment to personally thank each and every customer who has booked with us, recommended us or shared our information, particularly the community of English Speaking Mum’s who have so far been our biggest client group.  We have also been overwhelmed by the generosity shown by friends, Facebook acquaintances and certain family members who have reached out during this tumultous time. Another GRACIAS goes to all those English Speaking Mums (them again!) who have helped me on the job hunt, either by taking a chance on me, referring me or continuously booking my services in childcare. Much appreciated everyone!! I’d also like to point out that we are still so very, very fortunate compared to many in Santiago and, although Ojos Abiertos has not been active so far this year, any opportunities that you can think of that we can get involved with to give back please don’t be silent and we will do our bit to do our bit, even if that’s rallying the troops or blogging about a cause.