Untitled (1976) Brigada Luis Corvalan

photo BKOR archive
About the artwork

Two political Chilean paintings have been on display since 1976 on pillars at the Zuidplein metro and bus station. So-called painting brigades of Chilean refugees filled Rotterdam in the 1970s with protest art against Pinochet's coup in 1973. Former mayor André van der Louw participated in demonstrations against the military dictatorship. In 1975, the Rotterdam Art Foundation (RKS) organized the manifestation 'Por la solidaridad antifacista' on behalf of the municipal council and asked the Luis Corvalán and Unidos Venceremos brigades to create a series of murals. The paintings fitted in perfectly with the project that had already started Town painting and were regarded by the RKS as an international contributor to the series. Brigada Luis Corvalán painted these two pillars in 1976. On a yellow background, a dove of peace, a hand and barbed wire are applied in the blue, red and white of the Chilean flag. At the top is the text 'With the boycott we defeat the Chilean junta'. The other pillar has a red background, on which hands with a star of the flag are depicted. On the other side is the shadow outline of the continent of South America with a white star at the top, sting act at the bottom and below that the text 'Break the chains of fascism in Chile'. At the request of the Charlois district, the pillars were restored in 2005. Due to the station renovation that took place in the same year, the pillars were partly covered with metal by the architects involved.

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About the artist

Brigada Luis Corvalán was a group of Chilean artists and activists who had emigrated to Rotterdam. They lived in exile and traveled through Europe with their brushes, paint and symbolism of their anti-fascist struggle as their banner. In 1975 they painted the Communication column on the station square, which would later be known as the 'Chilean Column'. In 1976 they made two paintings on the pillars of the Zuidplein station. Brigades were usually affiliated with a political party or trade union and were often commemorated in the name of inspirers, such as the communist Luis Corvalán. In the first half of the 1980s, the 'Chilean Column' moved to the Weena, with the shield work being renewed by Brigada Calle Calle (a group centered around the artist Kata Núñe).

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Zuidplein, 3083 NZ Rotterdam, Netherlands