Pehuen Mapuche, Chile, 2019
The Pehuen, or Araucaria tree as western cultures may know it, is an incredible tree native to South America and the Patagonia area. Knowing little about it, on my first journey to Chile I was immediately drawn to this tree, it’s crown is distinctive against the wide horizons and mountain areas of Chile and Argentina. It stands with great dignity and just touching it with your hand transmits a sense of strength and stability. I later learned it is a sacred tree for the Mapuche people, the indigenous people of South Central Chile and South West Argentina. They describe the Araucaria Forests as their extended family and use the seeds, resin and wood for many foods and medicines. The Mapuches have a strong connection to the land and a profound respect for nature. The Mapuches resisted the colonisation of the conquistadors, yet are now are in a continuing struggle against multinational companies who are exploiting the natural resources of their sacred lands. Their attempts to retain their culture and protect the land is viewed as terrorism by the government who activity oppresses them.
This painting was made in 2019 during the mass protests against the goverment when I recorded a song with Chileno/Canario Franco Contreras called ‘Energia de Amor’ to give support to the Chilean people.
Water colour and pen on canvas.