The awakening of ancient voices

The Spanish Crown found an unimagined pitfall in its colonizing plan in America: the Mapuche people. Unlike the Incas, who had a centralized power, the Mapuche communities were always autonomous, and in this way the resistance and battles multiplied for almost three centuries in part of what is now known as Argentina and Chile. Such was the warrior capacity of the Mapuche people, that the Spanish Crown in the end chose to sign agreements and recognize territories.

A few decades after the creation of the Chilean and Argentine States, military campaigns were unleashed between 1860 and 1885, considered by the Mapuche people as the second invasion and misnamed “Pacification of the Araucania” and “Conquest of the Desert.” Each with its particularity, both represented the bloodiest ethnic genocide in the region.

On the Argentine side (Puelmapu) most of the original population was killed, raped, imprisoned, enslaved or marginalized to remote and poor areas. All machis, religious and spiritual authorities were murdered, and the social life of their communities was destructured. On the Chilean side (Gulumapu) the military outpost was similar, with the difference that as there were more communities, the number of survivors was greater, including some ancestral authorities who were also stripped of their lands, which passed to the hands of landowners, military and subsequently to European settlers called to “civilize” the nation.

The official history of Argentina and Chile tried for years to hide what, in part, was repeated during the last military dictatorships: territorial recovery processes that had begun in the 1960s were crushed with violence and death.

However, in the last twenty years different communities began new recovery processes, which are not only limited to the territory, but also to the customs, spirituality, language and history that was taken away by the victorious armies. Many of these communities support strong defenses of the Ñuke Mapu (Pachamama), opposing extractive projects of different kinds: forestry, mining, hydroelectric, oil companies. For this reason, because of damaging investments of multinationals and millionaire businesses, the Argentine and Chilean states began a new crusade against the Mapuche people, which includes murders and a systematic persecution through Justice, state forces and the media.

With prisons full of Mapuche political prisoners, and many other clandestines to avoid falling into the grip of Justice in which they do not believe, tensions and violence are daily. Human rights violations are the order of the day, and the victims are also Mapuche children. Meanwhile, the world looks the other way.

Pablo Piovano was born in Buenos Aires and has worked as a photographer at Página/12 since he was 18. 
In 2005 and 2014, Pablo was awarded a scholarship by the Fundación García Márquez. In 2018 he quit his job at the newspaper to start his career as a freelance photographer. 
He has won numerous awards, including the Philip Jones Griffiths Foundation Award, 1st place ‘The Manuel Rivera Ortiz Foundation’ at the New York
 Festival; the Internacional de la imagen (FINI) in Mexico; and 3rd place at the Picture of the Year Latin America, the Henri Nannen Prize and the Greenpeace award (2018) . He has also been selected by World Press Photo as one of the 6 talents of South America in 2018.

His work has been published in magazines such as Geo, Stern, National Geographic, L’Expresso, Internazionale, Liberation, de Volkskrant, Bloomberg and others and it has been exhibited in the most recognized museums and festivals in Europe.

Pablo Piovano is the author of the book The Human Cost of Agrotoxins published by Kehrer Verlag – Germany 2017.

Lodi, Parco Isola Carolina
viale Dalmazia


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Themed Area – Mother Earth

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