Recently, city-dwellers in Santiago joined residents from 26 cities worldwide – among them Barcelona, Berlin, New York, Rome and Buenos Aires – to participate in Wallpeople: a day when regular citizens take art to the streets.
In Chile, the Centro Cultural Gabriela Mistral (GAM) invited anyone passing by their location in the heart of bustling Santiago to paste their unique mementos such as photographs and personal memories, drawings, origami or wool handicrafts on a wall.
This is the second year that Wallpeople has come to Chile. In 2011, the citizen art exhibit was held at the Telefónica building in Plaza Italia, and over 500 people participated. This year, organizers chose the GAM for its visibility and location in a densely populated urban area.
Wallpeople began in Barcelona in 2010 as a way for pedestrians to reclaim public space, express themselves, and participate actively in their citizenship.
Organizer Sebastián Pérez-Canto said that people were encouraged to express themselves freely and leave a meaningful token or reminder of something in their lives. The only restrictions were that the objects could be attached by adhesive tape only, could not touch the floor and had to measure less than one square meter (about three feet by three feet).
Pérez-Canto adds that no objects that contained political connotations or discriminatory messages were permitted . “The idea is that people have a fun time, not that we generate disputes,” he clarified.
There was no limit to how many objects a person could paste, but organizers did emphasize the fact that they wanted participants’ contributions to be thoughtful and high quality. At the end of the exhibit, the wall was taken down and each participant was able to take someone else’s object home with them.
This year, children‘s participation was given priority. There was a table laid out especially for them with different, fun materials so they could create different crafts and later paste them onto the wall.
For those who attended, there was also special discount tickets offered to some of the productions currently playing at the GAM.