Alapinta in Punta Delgada, Strait of Magellan, Chile

At the Ferry terminal near to the Strait of Magellan, it’s possbile to admire a huge, colourful and amazing mural made by Alapinta crew that takes inspiration from Patagonia history. It’s the place where you get from Punta Delgada in Chile to Bahía Azul, in Tierra del Fuego, and Alapinta chooses this significant spot to welcome the people with a depiction of Selk’nam culture.

The Selk’nam, also known as the Onawo or Ona people, were indigenous people with a tribal organization, who lived in the Patagonian region of southern Argentina and Chile, including the Tierra del Fuego islands.They were the last to be discovered by Europeans, so they lived in peace, without worrying about colonists until the late 19th century. The arrival of gold miners and especially sheep breeders marked the beginning of the end. With the approval of Argentinian and Chilean governments it was planned the extermination of defenseless people. But it was not only the rifles that killed the Selk’nam, also smallpox and measles intervened. Not only the Selk’nam, but also all the “Fuegian” Indians, who lived for thousands of years at the “end of the world”, were killed.

Alapinta is a crew from La Araucanía region inhabited by an indigenous group, the Mapuche, for this reason they are particularly interested in investigating the identity and cosmogony of native peoples. For this big wall of 50 x 3 meters, Alapinta features people and symbols of Selk’nam culture and history. In fact, the reference to some religious beliefs and rites is marked especially by the display of figures with masks and body paint. Also, the depiction of a young boy can be considered in relation to the Hain ceremony in which young people were initiated into adulthood. Moreover, another fragment shows the Selk’nam as prolific hunter-gatherers, their subsistent survival consisted mostly of guanaco. The last part of the mural shows the perpetrated genocide by Europeans through the representation, taken from a photo, of a real hunt for the indigenous organized by the settlers. In this way, Alapinta gives us the chance to deeply reflect on the history of indigenous people of this land and also, it highlights the importance that all this memory must be preserved.

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