Alberto Hurtado University
Zanmi: A Mural Created by Haitian Children and Chilean Illustrators
Haitian children living in the commune of Estación Central spent time with illustrators, Sebastián Ilabaca, Tomás Olivos, Matías Prado, and Daniela William in their workshops to create a mural that will remain permanently installed in the GAM Cultural Center.
Twenty-Five Haitian children, ages 6 to 15, participated in artists’ workshops alongside four Chilean illustrators, where they were guided in drawing techniques leading to the creation of their own unique compositions. These were the beginnings of the mural entitled Zanmi, or “friend”, in Creole. After a preliminary version of the mural was put on display next to Haitian artist, Edouard Duval-Carrié’s exhibition in January of 2017, Zanmi became a permanent fixture, located on floor 2 of building B in GAM, visible from the cultural center’s main plaza.
The illustrators composed the mural by projecting enlarged versions of the children’s illustrations. They coated these with one color so as to harmoniously unite each child’s creation. The mural’s composition required a substantial amount of time and effort – the drawings of each child were enlarged and synthesized to fit across an entire 8 x 6-meter wall. The piece depicts the name of each child, as well as objects and ideas they identify with. The result as we see it: Two cultures colorfully come together to demonstrate a Chile enriched with a diversity of people and thought.
After the inauguration of this permanent mural at the GAM, the participating illustrators and students additionally made a smaller and adapted version that is also permanently exhibited on the heritage campus of the Alberto Hurtado University in the Vicente Huidobro Space.
The project, led by Fundación Mar Adentro, was supported by volunteers from the Ignatian University Center of the Alberto Hurtado University, an institution which offers Spanish courses for Haitian immigrants in Estación Central. GAM and MetroArte Center also joined the effort to engage recently-arrived Haitian immigrants in artistic and educational endeavors and facilitated the broadcasting of the mural in the north exit of the Universidad Católica subway station.
*The video was presented next to the mural during its inauguration. Images by Patricio Aguilera, editing by Sofía Nercasseau.
*Photos of mounting process: Víctor Marín