Artisans from around globe arrive to Santiago

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Published On : Sat, Nov 23rd, 2013

Photo essay: Artists from eleven different countries display and sell their work in the heart of the capital.

Artisans from around globe arrive to Santiago

Tomás Cataldo, 52, from Puente Alto of Santiago’s Metropolitan Region, models his meticulously designed work off fishing boats found in Southern Chile. He and his wife have attended the crafts fair 13 times.

Some of the finest artisan work from around the world has come to Santiago.

At this year’s Muestra de Artesanía UC, Chile’s largest annual gathering of artisan workers, craftsmen and women from eleven countries have come to Santiago to display and sell their work. From brightly colored Mexican talavera to meticulously crafted wood boats modeled after those found in Southern Chile to traditional Indian clothing, this crafts fair is a sight to see.

Artisans from around globe arrive to Santiago

Talavera dish ware from Hidalgo, Mexico

Denise Sánchez Aparicio, a 32-year-old artist from Lima, Peru, who works primarily with clay, told The Santiago Times that the fair’s goal is to help keep alive the art which reflects humanity’s heritage.

“The reason we’re here — and the reason the fair is here — is to rescue traditional art,” she said. “It helps highlight the importance of traditional art.”

The Muestra de Artesanía UC began as a simple idea forty years ago. In 1973, Patricio Gross, the former president of Chile’s Architecture Association, realized that in Chile’s capital there was no space for culture’s innovators and its beneficiaries to show, sell or enjoy handmade crafts, typical dances and traditional foods.

In 1974, Gross’s idea came to fruition — and has since grown into a widely recognized crafts fair known for its wealth of remarkable work and a strong commitment to rescuing and maintaining traditional art.

The steep prices on much of the fair’s art may be alarming, but — true to the fair’s roots — the quality of the craftsmanship is unmistakable.

Aparicio, who is attending the fair for the first time, mentioned how crucial cultural events like this are for the sustainability of artisan work. Ecuadorian Gladys Espinoza, 53, agreed, saying that financial success at Santiago’s crafts fair would be essential to her continued selling of vibrant and beautifully woven decorations and jewelry.

Artisans from around globe arrive to Santiago

Boris Prado, 44, has attended the crafts fair since he was a young boy.

Boris Prado, 44, has been a part of the Chilean artisanal scene since he was a young boy. It was 36 years ago, when Chile was still under the helm of an oppressive dictatorship, when Prado’s father began to sell his delicately designed kites at the fair.

 Flying kites is a pastime with a long history here in Chile, and one that for Prado, served as an “escape” in a time where lots of culture was prohibited.
 “The fair for me has always been something positive,” Prado said. “Because of it, many people have come to learn about this work which is about to practically disappear.”

The fair, which started Friday, will take place in Parque Bustamante and be open to the public until Dec. 8. Hours of operation are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

The entrance fee is 3,000 pesos for adults and 1,500 pesos for senior citizens, children up to age 12 and students.

Artisans from around globe arrive to Santiago

Clay sculptures and pottery from Lima, Peru by Denise Sánchez Aparicio.

Photos and article by Mason Bryan (mason@santiagotimes.cl)
Copyright 2013 – The Santiago Times

About the Author

Mason Bryan
Mason is a proud Seattleite. He specializes in politics and is particularly interested in press freedom, the state of the media and the future of journalism. Contact him at bryan@santiagotimes.cl or follow him on Twitter via @Mason_Bryan93.