Dear Aidan Grills
Chief Exec of Leeds University Union
We are writing to you on behalf of the Leeds Chilean Community and the Chilean Community Association South Yorkshire (ChileScda) after we heard about the ‘Union Upgrade Project’ taking place at the Student Union Building, specifically the area where a Chilean mural has been for the last 42 years.
This mural came into gaining such an important place in the Union as it is a very emotive piece which reflects the history and lives of many Leeds residents who came to this city after a very horrific time in Chile, South America.
In 1973 the democratic government led by President Salvador Allende was overthrown by a military junta headed by General Augusto Pinochet. The consequences of this military coup resulted in thousands of people murdered, tortured, disappeared and exiled.
As a result, a great number of refugees arrived in Leeds from 1974 thanks to the support of trades unions and students at Leeds University. Many became students at Leeds University and supported the campaign against the brutal regime. One activity backed by the Student Union of the time was to paint this mural in 1975 to remind everybody about what was going on in Chile under the dictatorship.
During late 70’s and 80’s this kind of muralism became an expression of aesthetic resistance against the neoliberal dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet.
We would like to request the LUU to find a way of rescuing and preserving this mural which has so much significance and memories for the Chilean Community in Leeds, and beyond, and is a constant reminder of how united the Leeds University Student Union and the Chilean Community were at that time.
We understand that life has to go on but the consequences of the dictatorship in Chile are still present and justice has not been achieved to punish the crimes committed by them and for thousands of ex-political prisoners.
As you can see the mural has seen better days but it is still visible and we would like it to be restored and preserved as a memory from that historic period!
We do hope it is not too late and wait for your reply and advice of what we could do to help you to achieve this.
Gilberto Hernández, Leeds Chilean Community
Pedro Fuentes, Chilean Community Association, South Yorkshire (ChileScda)
Save de Mural! Please, write a couple of lines to Aidan Grills CEO of Leeds University Union (LUU), using the link Here, requesting to save the mural, or just modify the above.
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