SUNY Potsdam to celebrate installation of 'Bridging Cultures Mural' with ceremony Dec. 5
Friday, November 29, 2019 - 9:17 am

Chilean-American artist Francisco Letelier led the creation of a collaborative mural during his visit to SUNY Potsdam in March 2019. The final product will be unveiled in a ceremony on Dec. 5. Photo submitted by SUNY Potsdam.

POTSDAM -- SUNY Potsdam will celebrate the installation of a Bridging Cultures Mural created by the Chilean-American artist Francisco Letelier and student artists, with a ceremony on Thursday, Dec. 5 at 4 p.m., in the Lougheed Learning Commons lobby.

Letelier led the collaborative mural project during a visit to campus last spring, as part of a unique exhibit of Chilean arpilleras, in partnership with The Art Museum at SUNY Potsdam and St. Lawrence University's Brush Gallery.

The Bridging Cultures Mural project allowed students to work directly with Letelier on a mural connecting three decades of solidarity and cultural actions in support of human rights and democracy in Chile and Latin America, as well as current issues throughout the Americas.

Francisco is the son of Orlando Letelier, an economist, politician and diplomat who was exiled from Chile during the military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet. A refugee in Washington, D.C., Orlando worked to inform the world about the human rights violations and atrocities occurring in Chile under Pinochet.

In 1976, Orlando was assassinated by the Chilean secret police in Washington, D.C., when Francisco was just a teenager. After his father was murdered, Francisco turned to art, and founded the Orlando Letelier Brigade -- creating murals to honor his late father, show Chile's tumultuous history, and share his hope for the future.

The Bridging Cultures Mural project ran concurrently with the "Sewn in Protest: Chilean Arpilleras from the 1970s and '80s" exhibition, which showcased the handmade Chilean patchwork tapestries at SUNY Potsdam's Gibson Gallery, in March 2019.