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From Street to Museum: The Journey of Chilean Protest Art

From Street to Museum: The Journey of Chilean Protest Art
Street art around Plaza Italia, Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

Santiago’s Museum of Social Uprising to preserve the protest art displayed during the demonstrations of October 2019

Roshni Subramanian
November 18 , 2020
03 Min Read

Protest art has never been confined to the walls of a studio, gallery or theatre, but has always been created and performed within public squares and streets. Most of the agitations and demonstrations would be unimaginable if it weren’t for art, music, theatre and murals underpinning them. The Chilean protest is just one such example. 

What started out in October, 2019 in Santiago as a response to the surge in subway prices, eventually spiralled into a movement with social inequality at its centre. Demonstrators took to the streets, or rather to the walls, as a symbol of artistic protest. The messages on the graffiti and murals spoke volumes of the years of social injustice endured by the citizens and also left a ray of hope of a better tomorrow for the young Chileans. 

Now, that the chaos in the streets has come to an end, it has been decided to preserve these artistic works, a result of months of rage. From multicolored posters to angry graffiti and from metal shields to tear gas cartridges, Santiago’s Museum of Social Uprising aims to keep alive the memory of months of deadly protests and agitations that have left a mark on Chilean history.

 
 
 
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A post shared by COLLAGE CHILE (@collagechile)

Nearly 70 artists have been asked to replicate their art pieces and assemble assorted objects emblematic of the protests. Apart from the metal shields and graffiti, what stands out are the art pieces that depict the victims who fell prey to police brutality and received serious eye injuries from the impact of tear gas canisters.

 
 
 
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A post shared by COLLAGE CHILE (@collagechile)

The museum is located at a stone’s throw distance from Plaza Italia, the epicentre of the uprising. It was opened to the public in the beginning of November, a little after the referendum wherein Chileans voted in favour of replacing the Pinochet-era constitution which was seen as a major hindrance to fundamental reforms. Even in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the museum receives a footfall of nearly 150 visitors every day.

 


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