Chile: Graffiti & Poster War: Approve and Reject Artwork

The elderly in the new constitution. Illustration: Barbara Carvajal – The Clinic

By Javier Middleton and Barbara Carvajal (The Clinic)

HAVANA TIMES – With the September 4 plebiscite just around the corner, the campaigns to Approve or Reject the new Constitution are being waged on a number of fronts. One is the poster and urban art war going on in the center of Santiago, Chile’s capital. The Clinic (an online, satirical newspaper based in Chile) toured downtown Santiago – from the Plaza Baquedano to La Moneda – to document the creative graphic artwork of both groups in this historic moment for the country.

As the plebiscite has drawn nearer, downtown Santiago has become a true propaganda battlefield, where those in favor of the new Constitution compete for wall space with those who want to reject it.

Plaza Baquedano, the national epicenter of social and political expression, is currently the best example of this phenomenon. On Saturday, August 20, the iconic roundabout held a march of Approval supporters; one day later, dawn found it covered by a gigantic Chilean flag, work of the collective Citizen’s House for the Reject choice.

This particular dispute isn’t only manifest by taking a public stand or high caliber speeches: the city’s walls are completely covered in posters supporting one of the two postures, with messages that range from creativity and eloquence to threats and pessimism.

In all this, another effort also stands out: the efforts to cover over material from the opposing position. It’s common to see one poster glued over another, as well as painted cross-outs or graffiti to transform the posters into illegible tangles. Malicious scrapings can also be noted, with the objective of eliminating – sometimes not so completely – the other side’s proselytism.

We at The Clinic, wanted to document this visual evidence, in the midst of the historic process that we’re entering. Camera in hand, we walked down both sides of the Alameda, from the Plaza Baquedano to La Moneda, taking pictures and videos of all the Approve and Reject artwork we found along the way.

Note: we traversed this route on Wednesday, August 17, and – as could be expected – it’s possible that the posters we saw may now have completely disappeared in the fight to capture the public spaces.   

The photographs and video are by Barbara Carvajal.

Read more from Chile here on Havana Times

One thought on “Chile: Graffiti & Poster War: Approve and Reject Artwork

  • seeing this photo feature is like seeing order in chaos. Let’s go Chile, Approve!

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