Public School Children Construct Memory Through Art

"The Route of Freedom and Hope" was the name chosen by the children from primary school Escuela Republica de Israel for the one-day art intervention they organized at Plaza Yungay, one of Santiago's  most emblematic public spaces, to remember and honor the victims of the Holocaust. They had been learning and reflecting on diversity and human rights in their History, Language, Religion and Art classes throughout the semester in the framework of an innovative educational project implemented by this public school’s principal and teachers. The event was supported by the Santiago Center, as part of its ongoing work on human rights and the construction of memory. 

December 04, 2017

The children created eight interactive installations in the perimeters of the square that not only addressed the suffering associated with discrimination, persecution and death but also the hope inherent to survival, life and freedom. They made cardboard trains to symbolize the deportations; placed colored shoes in the middle of the square each one with fragments of letters from concentration camp inmates; embroidered "arpilleras" (brightly colored patchwork pictures constructed from simple materials such as burlap and scraps of cloth) with messages against persecution and hate; and invited visitors to write letters and plant seeds to honor those who were murdered during the Holocaust.

In the opening ceremony, the School’s Principal, Lorena González, reiterated that “a school must not only ensure academic excellence but also train citizens to sensitive think critically.