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Museo de Arte Contemporaneo, Santiago, Chile, January 2000
A Networking Art Project in Homage to Indigenous People
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Crosses of the Earth: Texts | Installation MAC, Chile | Video | Participants | Some Contributions

About an encounter

The Indigenous cross, square cross or “chakana” cross, is a symbol that is cultivated throughout all the peoples of America, being represented under the most different artistic forms: friezes, looms, great buildings, mural paintings, basketmaking, it waves in the wind as “wiphalas” (square flags), it shines in gold and silver jewelry, in the enigmatic Nazca culture.

The Indigenous cross is a symbol deep-rooted in the mind of every Native, since it is a symbolic representation of mysterious natural orderings: the four seasons of the year, the four elements, and therefore, it is in a certain way a schematic summery of the Indigenous cosmovision that contains essensial concepts, as the duality in equilibrium (day/night, darkness/light, man/woman, positive/negative, etc.). There is a harmony in maintaining a diversity that gives to each element, human being or nation an own space, the dialectic of contrary forces that are being confronted without being annihilated, the course of circular time that begins and ends to let other cycles begin again ,etc.

These profound conceptions are not to support either ethereal spheres or specialists casts, they are deep practical matters which are expressed in own Indigenous technologies: agriculture that is regulated by calendars in the shape of a cross, the Andinian society that is arranged in four “suyus”, the couple in the Indigenous societies has greater “civil” rights, many trees are planted in couples to obtain better fruits, the merchandise exchange is organized in four ecological levels (tableland, valleys, flatland and coast).

During the last centuries of history this deep Indigenous symbol turned into an emblem of resistance and cultural consolidation, in front of the other culture, the “invading culture” that came with its own symbol (the Christian cross). In front of the new symbol, other values that were natural before began to be detached from the Indigenous cross: the equilibrium conception (two crossed identical sections) against the unbalanced condition of crossing one longer log with a shorter one, the dual conception of complementary sex implicit in the Indian cross against a male symbol (.. father, son and masculine spirit), and above all the Indigenous cross as a symbol of life against the symbol of suffering, pain and death of the Occidental Christian culture.

Yet, they who are confronted finally transform each other and both of them obtain something of the opponent, in the same way that Christianity has been changed in America. Nothing can avoid the exchange of values which widens both visions of the world and, in this way, diversity is also enriched.

Within this spirit, the artists of the world convoked by Hans Braumüller, recognizing the deepness of the Indigenous symbol, want to do homage to the nations that were able of extracting of the simplicity of nature, the values for a life of harmony and equilibrium so urgently needed now-a-days. It is an simple artistic homage, small networking pieces of art made with common materials, that Hans has been receiving during five years thanks to a pacient work of maintaining mail art and e-mail with many people, of travelling and having interviews with others (till he met us, for what we are thankful). Yet this simplicity also has the merit and devotion of the artists that made the work and also Hans, who had to explain his initiative to his colleages many times, he motivated them by his enthusiasm; he has the merit of the persistance of whom knows that his undertaking is trascendental and finally, of being the artist who will make the assembling. The setting up will be the sum of all little contributions of each piece of work that carries a bit of the spirit of each creator. All works will form a Great Indigenous Cross within an adequate physical space: the centre of Chile, scene of the action of a lot of Indigenous battles in the past, and in the present the scene where many political questions and decisions concerning our peoples are taken, and besides that, it is the soil where Hans was born.

Yet this complete devotion cannot be without any interest, since it must be adjusted to the Indigenous principle of reciprocity. The authors have acted with their almost anonymous contributions to a collective cause, as truly Indigenous; so their spirit is not anymore the same, they have got something, which added to the own force of the Indigenous Symbol that have emerged from their hands, make them not only artists paying but also receiving an homage. They are part of our prophecies that announce the flowering of our cultures that will do a great contribution to improve Humanity.

National Indigenous Coordination of Chile CONACIN

Crosses of the Earth: Texts | Installation MAC, Chile | Video | Participants | Some Contributions
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