During the height of the Spanish flu pandemic, afflicted Norwegian artist Edvard Munch painted a pair of self-portraits. In the first, he sits alone in a chair beside his rumpled bed, bundled in a robe, blankets covering his legs. His face is drained of color and his mouth hangs open, as if gasping for breath. In the second, painted after his recovery, he lists, seemingly exhausted, toward the viewer.
Through street art, Chileans and Canadians are celebrating creativity and diversity.
Art has the power to tell stories, instil pride and even foster inclusion.
That’s exactly what a recent cultural exchange between Chile and Canada accomplished.
Like Canada, Chile is a country that is home to different cultures, religions and ethnicities. As is true in Canada, there is still more work to do in Chile to ensure that all segments of society are included and have equal opportunities. Alongside local partners, the Embassy of Canada in Chile is showing that communities are stronger when we work together, respect our differences and give everyone the chance to participate.
The Embassy supported the “Creative Cities” exchange project, sending Canadian artists Jarus and Kreecha to the port city of Valparaíso to paint two public murals.
The project was a collaborative effort of Creativo Arts, a Canadian organization directed by Toronto-based Canadian-Chilean cultural promoter Rodrigo Ardiles, local art organization Valparaíso en Colores, and the Valparaíso regional office of Chile’s Ministry of Cultures, Arts and Heritage, under their ‘Emerge Valparaíso’ program.
This was the second phase in the “Creative Cities” exchange between Toronto and Valparaíso, as fostered by Creativo Arts and with support from the City of Toronto and other Canadian organizations. In phase one, two Chilean artists traveled to Toronto and painted murals in the Dundas West neighbourhood. These public art works reflect the diversity and rich cultures of Canada’s largest city and are now part of the Dundas West Open Air Museum, which was launched in June 2019.
“Murals make neighbourhoods feel more welcoming and walkable. They encourage citizens to be creative and foster a sense of identity, belonging and openness. They can also boost economic development and tourism in the neighbourhood”, said Rodrigo Ardiles.