Posts Tagged Chile military coup

The lost art of Santiago Bell: Crowdfunding

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Santiago Bell was a Chilean sculptor who left Chile for the UK in 1975 as a political refugee after the violent military coup led by Augusto Pinochet two years earlier.

An Art Teacher, Socialist, Politician, Sculptor, Christian and Activist, Santiago created communities simply by generating a space for people to work, talk and release their talents.

Santiago was one of 28,000 political prisoners arrested, imprisoned, and tortured shortly after the military takeover. Thanks to efforts by solidarity groups in the UK, Amnesty International and due to his British heritage, Santiago was released in 1975.

Many thousands of people in his position were murdered or ‘disappeared’

“Either they shot you or they tried to kill you slowly. They tried to kill me slowly, by beatings and torture and madness in solitary confinement. Ten of my ribs were broken and didn’t set properly. My kidneys don’t work well because of the beatings. People say this has made me wise. Well, I would rather be stupid and not have had the lesson. I learnt things, but they were all dark things”

Santiago Bell

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Christopher Bell, the grandson of Santiago Bell, raised in Cambridge the city he first arrived in back in 1975; and coordinator of the crowdfunding initiative, says “After he passed away in 2005, we were left with an extraordinary body of work. In our journey to salvage these amazing sculptures, we have come to realise that they are more than just pieces of art but tools that Santiago used to change lives. Since 2005, the work has fallen into disrepair, having been stored in garages, living rooms and attics”.

  “Much of the work is damaged, has parts missing or is missing altogether. We need proper funding to get a decent work space and assign the right people to bring the work back to life. With the funding, we would also arrange the shipping of the missing sculptures.”

” Christopher concludes “We need your help, to first and foremost help us to preserve these great works of art and the story and message behind them”.

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“We Touched the Sky”: a new online educational resource about the Chilean experience.

P1070834The Chile40YearsOn online course ‘We Touched the Sky’ was launched on Saturday 20th August at the El Sueño Existe Festival, Machynlleth, Wales.

This is a new educational resource designed to learn online about the Chilean experience, via interviews with exiled Chileans living in Britain. They tell their life stories, from the initial inspiration as Allende and Popular Unity came to power in 1970, the extraordinary achievement that they were part of, and their personal experiences in the run up to and on the day of the military coup (Sept 11th 1973) and its aftermath.

Four Chileans with widely different experiences tell of the repression they suffered, the solidarity both direct and indirect they received, and their arrival here in Britain to make new lives as exiles and activists.

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