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“Octoberist” work generates heated council in Vitacura

A series of questions are what the work has raised. “A life”, which through different elements portrays the last 50 years of the country’s history. Exhibition located at the Casas de Lo Matta Cultural Center in Vitacura in which reference is also made to 2019, the year in which the social outbreak occurred.

The phrase “this did not catch on” scratched on one of the barricades of the exhibition located in the cultural center on Avenida Presidente Kennedy, is precisely the one that generated the greatest questions from deputies and councilors of the Republican Party, who have called it “October”.

Locations that this Wednesday reached the Vitacura Municipal Council, where the controversy was discussed, which even ended in a heated discussion.

After presenting the details of the latest activities that the municipality has carried out, the mayor Camila Merino (Evópoli) took the floor to refer to the work that they had inaugurated a few days before. “I would like to specify certain things,” he began by saying.

“This is a sample that won an open competition and was chosen by an expert jury. The exhibition is about the life of this artist, his personal experiences and how he sees Chile from his perspective., from his own biography. Arturo Duclos is a Chilean artist with a long career, both in Chile and abroad. I think it is important that as a cultural corporation we cannot censor art,” Mayor Merino stated first.

“Octoberist” work generates heated council in Vitacura. In the image, Camila Merino, mayor of that municipality.

Following that, the communal authority proposed the work, won a contest with rules, but did assume – according to what was discussed with the corporation – “that the focuses can be specified, the areas that we address in the future can be specified. And it is a job that we want, where we want to invest in art, where we want to invest in culture, it is a job that we are going to do with the board.” Finally, Merino called on the neighbors to make “your own judgment about this exhibition. It is not the same to see isolated images (…) Finally, I want to reiterate my complete commitment to condemning violence and my total support for Carabineros.”

Then the president of the Culture Commission of the Municipal Council of Vitacura spoke, Macarena Bezanilla (RN), who, along with reporting that he has received threats through social networks, also explained the way in which the work was chosen.

But the mayor’s words were not well received by the councilor. Felipe Ross (Republicans), who warned Merino: “You decided to go for a corporate defense instead of acknowledging the mistake. And I told him that same Monday that I was not going to keep quiet. I told you, and here I am to tell you exactly what I told you I was going to say, I was all warned, mayor.”

Following that, the councilor assured that the artist of the work “is taking the pleasure of presenting a biased and partial vision of what happened in the recent history of Chile.” In his opinion “If the artist wanted to show what really happened in the last 50 years, and in particular what happened at that time, he would show the context and “It would show that there was terrorism here.”

Ross summoned the mayor, whom he told that by voting for her it was to “support certain forms of culture.” The councilor assured that “I don’t think, in the least, of the violent culture that you are promoting in our municipality.” (…) My question, mayor, is how that garbage gets the maximum rating.” The councilman’s exalted comments concluded by maintaining that he and other neighbors “We reject that form of egocentric, nihilistic and extreme left-wing culture in our commune, get it out of here, mayor.”

Then it was the turn of the councilors Tomas Kast (Evópoli) and Max del Real (RN), the latter called on the mayor to assume that a mistake had been made.

Following the comment from the National Renewal councilor, Mayor Merino reiterated that she spoke with the corporation regarding the issue. However, the explanations of the communal authority were interrupted by Ross, who summoned her by asking: “Does this represent the editorial line of the municipality or not? The question is super simple and direct.”

Faced with that question, the highest communal authority once again reiterated that Duclos won the contest, at which point she was again interrupted by the councilor of the Republican Party. “We are inviting neighbors to consume this version of culture. Are we going to praise that exhibition? Are we going to promote that exhibition?” Raising the tone of his voice, Ross also summoned, in the middle of his comment, Councilwoman Bezanilla to whom he told that “I don’t know why you feel like the victim of this whole thing.” To which his colleague responded “because they attacked me personally.”

Despite that, the councilor continued, this time pointing to Merino “you are the president.” However, the councilor’s words were interrupted by Bezanilla who told him “Your tone threatens, it fome, you fix that Max (from Real) spoke very calmly and from the heart. Your tone is super threatening and violent, let’s tone it down a bit. “Your attitude is violent, you are attacking the mayor.”

Ross, who tried in the middle of that exchange to continue with his presentation, maintained that “it seems that we all agree that this is a mistake” and insisted “Or does this represent the editorial line of the municipality? It’s a mistake, right? To which Mayor Merino responded “obviously what is stated there does not interpret me, but it won in a contest.”

The councilor interrupted her and again pointed out “what is going to happen with that error then? We must have humility, even President (Gabriel) Boric is willing to eat the political cost of dismantling the symbols of Octobristism and in Vitacura we are not willing?

“That’s where I disagree with you. For me it is not a symbol of Octubrism“, responded Mayor Merino regarding the work. Whereupon Ross concluded “There we are in fundamental difference then.”

Concluding the heated discussion, the Real councilor asked the mayor: “Is there room for right-wing artists in left-wing communes?” Position that was interrupted by Bezanilla who told him “the communes are not right, left or right, everyone fits.”

Although the tone of the conversation decreased with the opinions of the rest of the councilors, the councilors and Merino agreed to continue reviewing the issue. Before the City Council closed, however, there was another opinion from Ross who apologized to the neighbors “from his political and religious side” for the questioned exhibition.

“I ask you to go see the exhibition”Mayor Camila Merino responded directly before ending the heated session in which the most repeated word was: “Octoberism.”

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