Arts & Entertainment

Mon Laferte mural inaugurates events for 50th anniversary of Chilean coup

Santiago, Jan 3 (EFE).- A colorful and assertive mural painted by prize-winning Chilean singer-songwriter Mon Laferte at the iconic National Stadium in Santiago on Tuesday inaugurated the series of events this year to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the country’s military coup.

Prisons, guitars, volcanoes, arrested people and bellflowers are just some of the images included in the huge painting that Laferte, born in 1983, conceived along with well-known Chilean muralist Mono Gonzalez.

“In a place that was so dark and was the dictatorship’s most important concentration camp, now there is life and color,” Gonzalez said.

For the muralist, the painting – which is located at one of the stadium’s main entrances – reclaims “the culture of life” and “blends” his style with Laferte’s.

“What interested me most was to combine the work of an older generation, I’m 76 years old, with that of a young one that did not experience the coup,” he said.

Located in the residential Nuñoa district and declared an Historical Monument in 2003, the National Stadium was the largest detention center during the coup that toppled then-President Salvador Allende, a Socialist, on Sept. 11, 1973.

Calculations are that about 50,000 prisoners passed through the stadium between September and November 1973, when it was closed as a detention center so that the national soccer team could play in the elimination rounds for the 1974 World Cup.

The stadium, which also functions as a voting precinct, occupies a privileged position in the Chilean imagination since it was also where former President Patricio Aylwin gave his famous and symbolic speech upon taking office in 1990, marking the transition from dictatorship back to democracy and promising “truth” and “reparation” in front of dictator Augusto Pinochet.

“This mural constitutes the first milestone of the 50 years of the fateful coup … and it is the result of a collective process constructed from the memory of those who managed to survive the atrocities of the dictatorship,” said Marcelo Acevedo, the coordinator of the Network of Memorial Sites, which includes the dictatorship’s main torture centers.

Acevedo also called on the public to “reflect on how little progress has been made in protecting and promoting human rights and historical memory … (and) in breaking up the pacts of silence and letting truth and justice flourish.”

Chile will commemorate the half-century mark of the coup d’etat with Gabriel Boric heading the country, the most leftist leader since Allende and who is preparing a series of commemorative events up through September.

EFE –/bp

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