Santiago – This week in Lastarria, a sector in Santiago, workers began painting over the “Lastarria Patrimonial” mural which has upset local groups. The 300m2 mural, painted in 2017 on the Rosal 312 building in the central corner of the popular borough, had become a visual inevitability of the neighborhood. Nonetheless, the administration of the building, with the initial blessing of the governing agencies, has started to remove it and reinstate the building to its standard facade.
The mural depicts the iconic Lastarria neighborhood in the 1900s. Done in the hyper-realistic style, the mural has created another physical dimension that magically teleports passersby into past scenes of a woman selling fruit, a tram rushing down the street, a painter working away in his workshop, and other imagined Santiago residents going about their daily business.
The mural was created by five artists led by Luis Núñez San Martín, a self-taught muralist painter from Chuquicamata, as part of the Hecho en Casa Festival (Homemade Festival). The work was meant to remain for only six months after the festival’s end date as it is located in a highly populated area. But the Municipality of Santiago had granted an almost two-year extension which is now past its term.
On June 18, workers began painting over the mural with white paint, and they have already erased one corner of the mural so far. The decision was based on the argument that the deadline for the artwork had passed so the building should be restored to its original state.
Journalist Rodrigo Guendelman posted on Instagram account “@santiagoadicto,” a video of workers painting over the mural. This upset many people who consider the work to be an integral part of the artistic Lastarria neighborhood. They argue that the artwork enhances the street and should remain.
Several groups, including residents of Lastarria, have started a campaign to preserve the work. At this moment, the removal has been halted but no decision has been made to preserve it. One thing is for certain, mural- and street art lovers should make their way over to Lastarria as soon as possible to enjoy what could be a last glance at this unquestionably magnificent work of local art.
Born in Ukraine but raised in Canada since a young age, Kateryna Kurdyuk has since acquired a Masters of Media Studies and Communication from University of Melbourne in Australia and worked in the education field in Dubai, UAE. While currently working as an English Professor in Santiago, Chile, Kateryna is using her extensive experience living and travelling abroad to contribute as a writer to the emerging independent English-language media in Chile.