The Expanded Field

Maya Errázuriz H. For Lofscapes

(1) Araucarias in Pehuén Forest ©Amparo Irarrázaval for LOFscapes / (2) Artists in residence making a canopy in the Pehuén Forest ©Juan Pablo Miranda for LOFscapes

Art is a form of expression and knowledge that builds bridges between disciplines and people. Fundación Mar Adentro develops art, education, and nature projects to propose changes to the value given to natural and cultural heritage.

The current situation of natural environments requires that we stop again to observe them. This way of approaching nature transforms it, like many other things in our environment, into an art object. Art offers an analytical structure through which we can build our own realities; nature and landscape are also constructions of certain realities. To lead to changing our perception and not the landscape, (1) Fundación Mar Adentro (FMA) contributes with initiatives that approach the discussion and reflection on nature in a creative and innovative way from the perspective of art, incorporating education as a transversal axis in the development of its projects.

(1) Excerpt from writings of the visual artist Hamish Fulton

Ten years ago, Fundación Mar Adentro created the private reserve Bosque Pehuén, a conservation initiative dedicated to protecting 882 hectares of old and secondary forests of oak, raulí, coigue, and araucaria in the foothills of the Andes in the Araucanía region, one of the areas with the country’s greatest biodiversity and endemism. Under the premise that to conserve it is necessary to understand, this place was designed as an open-air laboratory for research to generate preservation models that link scientific research, art, education and outreach activities. From there, the Foundation launched a program of artistic residencies in 2016 to converge art with nature and provide a multidisciplinary space for exploring the interdependence of living beings and the role of the human within the complex system of nature.

In its most recent version, in April and May of this year, the program received artists Charlotte Graham (New Zealand, 1972), Etienne de France (France, 1984) and Gianfranco Foschino (Chile, 1984), whose artistic works represent the mysteries of nature and focus us on what humanity owes to the earth and the valuable relationship that indigenous cultures have with it. Each of the artists carried out his/her research and artistic process by listening to the forest and its communities; they also conducted environmental education workshops from an artistic point of view in schools located in the area surrounding the Pehuén Forest.

The collaborative work between different organizations, institutions and NGOs, both public and private, is essential to enrich projects with different perspectives and contribute to generating a positive impact on people’s quality of life. Collaboration also serves to encourage new views on the need to preserve the integrity of ecosystems. Fundación Mar Adentro promotes initiatives that propose new models to raise society’s awareness of the value of nature and culture. Initiatives like these are also carried out by the Nature Conservancy, a Peruvian NGO that develops artist residences to educate on conservation and empower indigenous communities that have protected the Amazon for years. Others include those of the Museum of Natural History of Río Seco, made up of a team of marine biologists and visual artists who propose a new model of the natural history museum that incorporates culture and science into an educational program of naturalist workshops promoting southern culture and the natural heritage of the Magallanes Region.

Projects like these give priority access to members of communities with greater vulnerability. Intellectuals, artists, professors or mediating agents help to multiply these efforts. Education is the transversal axis that unites the different actions of the Fundación Mar Adentro through workshops that bring together artistic creation, environmental education and community work. The Active Teaching Program of FMA, for example, develops training activities in which disciplines converge to stimulate interest in creativity, art and care for nature. By inviting teachers to participate in instances of reflection, critical thinking, training and creative stimulation beyond their daily routines, real results can be achieved: the most relevant is that they replicate the impact of these instances with their students and their community.

Finally, carrying out actions in non-traditional spaces creates a new way of creating that builds bridges between different areas and people. In these ways, the Fundación has managed to play a key role in what encourages us to change our perception of the value of natural and cultural heritage.

Maya Errázuriz H. Art Historian and Architect, Boston University, and Project Coordinator Fundación Mar Adentro.

For more information about Fundación Mar Adentro and its projects: http://fundacionmaradentro.cl/

(3) Microscopic image of bryophyte Frullanea collected from the Pehuén Forest by a team of researchers from the Austral University of Chile ©Daniela Mellado for LOFscapes
(4) Native community of Puerto Prado, Joint Residency Program Fundación Mar Adentro  and Conserve By Nature ©Conservamos Por Naturaleza for LOFscapes
(5) Member of the Museum of Natural History of Río Seco holding demonstrations for a naturalist workshop for its educational program © Museum of Natural History  of Rio Seco for LOFscapes
(6) Docentes Activos de Chiloé en la naturaleza (Teachers Active in Nature of Chiloe) ©Amparo Irarrázaval for LOFscapes