Global celebration

‘Trees of the World’ exposition brings holiday cheer to Chile

Exhibition takes over Parque Bicentenario for a second year, using global art to raise spirits and money for children around the world.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013  
The trees line the pedestrian walk at Parque Bicentenario. Photo by Jaclyn Battjes The trees line the pedestrian walk at Parque Bicentenario. Photo by Jaclyn Battjes



Some are classic pine, others manipulate metal to reflect nature. Together, they bring holiday cheer and a world of creativity to Santiago’s Parque Bicentenario.

For the second year in a row, the “Trees of the World” exhibition has taken over one of the most loved green spaces in the capital. Opened on Dec. 10, the free and open-air art exhibit features 21 trees from 21 countries, each designed to represent their home culture with some holiday flare. A wide range of countries including Mexico, Romania, Haiti, Peru, India and Greece, have contributed this year, making it a truly global event.

Chile’s tree is a stunning copper sculpture, using the country’s primary export as its base. With images and poetry reflecting the heart of the nation, its connection to Chile goes beyond its structure.

“The idea was to make something that represents Chile; this is why we used the copper and the words of Neruda on the arms of this Christmas tree,” Chilean designer Estefanía Johnson  explained. “There is also an allusion to our extensive coastline in the image of a boat, while the use of opaque tones — made with oxidized copper —and the brilliant tones of polished brass, evoke the desert and the Austral forest.”

The exhibition seeks to reflect the many diverse peoples of the world, taking into account various faiths and traditions beyond Christmas. For instance, the design of the tree representing India mixes its own culture’s beliefs and symbols into a beautiful piece of art.

“They don’t celebrate Christmas, but they do believe in the tree of life — a symbol of fertility — and in the mandalas, which are diagrams that represent the cosmos and enhance meditation,”said architect and designer María José de Rementería, who was part of the team for the India design. “Because of this, our tree is a mix of these two symbols.”

However, this unique exhibition is doing more than bringing together cultures and celebrating the holiday spirit, it is also helping to raise money and awareness for children in need. At the end of the exhibit, 15 of the trees will be auctioned off with proceeds benefiting the Fundación Debra, which helps children with epidermolysis bullosa, known as "glass skin.” The money will be used to help families across 35 countries.

The trees will be on display through Jan. 6 in Parque Bicentenario in the Vitacura area of Santiago. The park is easily reached by bus and is a short walk from metro Tobalaba.