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South of Biobío - Photographs on the life of the Mapuche in Chile by Adolfo Vera

The photographs of Adolfo Vera, a photographer who was born in Chile but lives and works in Finland, tell about the life of the Mapuche, an indigenous people in Chile, in southern Chile today. Because of centuries of colonialism, the Mapuche have gradually withdrawn from their traditional lands to the more secluded mountain areas of Chile. The natural riches ñ the minerals and the wide forests ñ†of the area south of the River Biobío interest big companies, and the pressure to utilize the resources have increasinly driven Mapuche families into a tight spot. The photograph exhibition accompanies a wider display of Mapuche culture at Siida.

When
Mar 02, 2012
to
May 20, 2012
Contact Name Sámi Museum Siida
Contact Email
Contact Phone +358400898212
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Adolfo Vera, a photographer who was born in Chile but lives and works in Finland, photographed the lives of Mapuche in southern Chile, in the village of Icalma and the area of Lake Budí, in 2007. The purpose of his photography project is to attract attention to the situation of the Mapuche and help thus the members of the Mapuche community to fight for their lands and culture.

Both in Chile and elsewhere in the world, the Mapuche are known as a nation that defended itself bravely against the Inka and the Spanish for centuries. For a long time, they also managed to keep the Chilean army off their lands, but, little by little, they were forced to give in to the conquerors. Wide land areas were conveyed to non-Mapuche, and the Mapuche had to move to remote mountain regions or stay as farm workers in the lands that used to belong to them.

Large forests and rich mineral resources have made the southern part of Chile – the area south of the River Biobío – attractive for multinational companies. They have acquired the ownership of large areas in order to exploit the natural resources of the region – with no regard for the opinions of the local people. Over-exploitation of resources does not only do damage to the nature of the area: it threatens to destroy Mapuche culture totally.

The small pieces of land that Mapuche families have are not enough to provide for a family, the price for handicrafts and other products is dirt-cheap, and the authorities treat Mapuche badly. Many young people no longer know their native language, Mapudungun. The rural area does not offer opportunities for the young, so many move to cities. But there, too, discrimination and social problems characterize the lives of the Mapuche.

The exhibition has received support from the Finnish Cultural Foundation and the Photography Committee of the Arts Council of Finland.

Further information:
Arja Jomppanen, Head Curator, Sámi Museum Siida, tel. +358 (0)40 579 3313, arja.jomppanen@samimuseum.fi

Subscription URL: http://siida.fi/contents/exhibitions/old-exhibitions/south-of-viu-viu/icalendar_export_event
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