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article imageReview: Epic mural acclaims the cultural values of Latin American peoples Special

By Igor I. Solar     Dec 8, 2013 in Entertainment
Concepci - Considered the most important collection of Chilean painting, second only to the National Museum of Fine Arts, the Art Gallery of the University of Concepción, holds an impressive mural and about 1800 works of the most prominent Chilean artists.
The House of Art at the University of Concepción in Concepción, Chile, has several rooms for permanent exhibitions and temporary expositions of invited artists. In its entrance hall, the Art Gallery welcomes visitors with a magnificent mural called "Presence of Latin America”. The mural was created between November 1964 and April 1965 by Mexican artist Jorge González Camarena, assisted by Chilean painters, Eugenio Brito and Albino Echeverría.
Partial funding for the construction of the Art Gallery and the mural was donated by the Mexican Government in recognition of the University’s cultural and academic work, and to assist in the reconstruction of the University of Concepción which had suffered heavy damage in the 1960 earthquake that virtually destroyed the city.
The Arc of Medicine is the main access to the campus of The University of Concepción. The building ...
The Arc of Medicine is the main access to the campus of The University of Concepción. The building known as "The House of Art", containing the large mural "Presence of Latin America", is located to the right side of the picture.
The giant mural covers an area of 211 square meters (35.2 x 6 meters). The epic account of the history and culture of Latin America extends along the wall from right to left. It unfolds in three sections, which I have divided into the four images below.
The right panel shows the past, representing the pre-Hispanic world in Latin America. This concept is accentuated by the red symbol of Zontemoc ("The Falling Sun") on the top right of the panel that suggests the decline of the pre-Hispanic cultures.
The central panel starts with the figures that the author called the "Original Family", consisting of a Spanish soldier and a native woman who represents all native American nationalities. At the bottom of this panel is represented the mineral wealth of the Andes, gold, silver and copper.
In the left panel are the botanical symbols of both countries: the Nopal of Mexico, and Chile’s Copihue.
The right panel shows the past  representing the pre-Hispanic world in Latin America. This concept i...
The right panel shows the past, representing the pre-Hispanic world in Latin America. This concept is accentuated by the symbol of Zontemoc ("The Falling Sun") on the top right of the panel that suggests the decline of the pre-Hispanic cultures. The central panel starts with the figures of a Spanish conquistador and a native woman. At the bottom of this panel is represented the mineral wealth of the Andes, gold, silver and copper. (Photo of Igor Solar of section of a mural by Jorge González).
Part of the central panel showing several sleeping women  symbolizing the riches of the earth: silve...
Part of the central panel showing several sleeping women, symbolizing the riches of the earth: silver, gold, iron and copper. On the surface of this swarm of bodies and precious stones, sprouts a pregnant woman covered with vines, representing the fertility of the earth. Over it are corn, wheat, and grapes, food items that sustains industrialization, technology and science, represented as a machine on the upper part of the panel. (Photo of Igor I. Solar of section of a mural by Jorge González)
The central panel continues with several overlapping faces symbolizing the fusion of the races: the ...
The central panel continues with several overlapping faces symbolizing the fusion of the races: the largest in red, represents the American race. Below these faces there is a life-sized, naked woman with a map of Latin America on her lap. She is the central subject of the mural. (Photo of Igor I. Solar of a section of mural by Jorge González Camarena).
The left panel of the mural contains a nopal (the national tree of Mexico) fusing with the vines of ...
The left panel of the mural contains a nopal (the national tree of Mexico) fusing with the vines of a copihue (the national flower of Chile). The nopal is stabbed by daggers, symbolizing the historic mistreatment of Latin Americans. The roots are intertwined with skeletal warriors, who nourish the nopal and give it life. (Photo of Igor I. Solar of a section of mural by Jorge González Camarena).
The various elements of the wall are connected by an undulating band of flags of all Latin American countries, flanked by the national birds of Mexico and Chile, the eagle and the condor.
In general, this work uses symbolic images to describe the history, the fraternity and the destiny of Latin America. The Andes Mountains appear in the background, and capping the entire mural are the verses of Chilean poet, Nobel laureate Pablo Neruda:
“…Y no hay belleza como esta belleza de América extendida en sus infiernos / en sus cerros de piedra y poderío, en sus ríos atávicos y eternos…” (“…There is no beauty like the beauty of America spread out in its hells / in its mountains of rock and power, in its atavistic and eternal rivers…).
In recognition of its heritage and cultural value to the city of Concepción, the mural was recognized by the Government of Chile in 2009 as a National Historic Landmark.
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More about Presence of Latin America, House of Art, University of Concepcion, Concepcion Chile, Mexico
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