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Mining Mural


History of Chilean Mining Mural

Art at the service of human achievement

Recently inaugurated History of Chilean Mining digital mural at the University of Concepción is an assertive discourse for the mining sector.

Long has been the notion to translate our thoughts into physical form so others may understand it. In spite of dramatic changes through out human history and condemnation of pictorial language as far as the Iconoclast period (c. 730 A.D.) to Marcel Duchamp’s epitaph of “dead painting” in the 20th century, mankind has prevailed in bringing forward its intrinsic condition of popular consensus. Such has been the result of recently inaugurated 3 story high digital mural at the University of Concepción, Metallurgical Engineering Department where in an unprecedented manner, visual artist Alexander Sutulov has synthesized the history of Chilean mining from pre-Colombian period to contemporary times. The reflection upon 4.000 years of mining history where the Bronze Age extended in pre-Hispanic culture until the arrival of the Spanish Conquistador in the new world, perpetuated a unique mining culture where copper predetermined the history of Chile and its breakthrough in the 19th century where the red metal as a thermal and electrical conductor constituted the soul of the Industrial Revolution.

We are not surprised to discover why a small country like Chile became the first producer of copper in the world in 1876 with 42% of world production and with the largest copper reserves until today, which amount to an outstanding 38% of global copper deposits. These facts together with the particular mining infrastructure of Chile lingered to long term empirical knowledge has captivated a consensual view of how the mining industry and foremost, mining economy carries an enormous responsibility in terms of viable solutions to the future prospects of environmental issues.

Today we have created a niche for the mining world in the cultural arena through the discourse of digital art and most important, the idea of art at the service of human achievement. Long has been the alienation of epic history and heroic acts in a confrontational era such as modernism, nevertheless the lack of identity through the exacerbation of the mundane is paying a high cost when complete realities have submerged under the power of immediacy.

Not in vane has been the discourse of Alexander in the past 10 years where an underground world has astonishingly remerged through the meaning of symbol and colour. The global community is invited to be participative and become each day more familiarized to hidden worlds which ultimately constitutes our safeguards to an uncertain future of ecological equilibrium. If we turn our backs to the fundamentals of human existence of how it has transformed the richness of nature in order to create a second nature, more difficult will be our task to understand the consequences and model our future existence.

In this regard, Alexander’s mining mural opens a new window where our involvement as viewers of a complex reality becomes apprehensible and revealed not from a heroic or epic standing point, but from a human experience of censoring the governance of an underground world which affect our daily life’s in every way possible. A tribute which cannot be taken for granted, on the contrary this are signs of awareness where human will and conviction must recapitulate in order to render the assertiveness of a sustainable life quality and our empathy with our surrounding which redefines our essential humanity.


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