OALP Class XIX Observes Street Art and Graffiti as a Part of the Chilean Way of Life- Often Reflecting Mood of the PeopleTue, 25 Feb 2020 08:03:29 CST
International travels of the Oklahoma Ag Leadership Program are not just about studying the agricultural activities of the host country- but also looking at the government and culture as well. While some in Class 19 of OALP were a little skeptical of including Street Art in the educational process of the 2020 Chile travels- everyone came away from the walk down the hill through the UNESCO World Heritage site portion of the old city amazed at the talent displayed by many who have painted on the walls of Valparaiso over the last several years- and also came away with a perspective of the huge amounts of grafitti that is everywhere in Chile since the riots of last fall. At that time, authorities announced a modest hike in metro fares in the capital Santiago on October 18- since then more than 30 people have died in protests which mushroomed in an outlet for wider discontent over social and economic inequality and rejection of conservative billionaire Sebastian Pinera and his government.
Class members of the OALP have seen no violence- but have seen much evidence of the protests- mainly the grafitti that covers many buildings in Santiago and some buildings in the other communities that have been visited since arriving.
One of the street art guides that has painted on the walls of Valparaiso- and can be seen here next to one of his cartoons that the group walked by, Alvador Remides, talked with Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays down in the historical Old Square after the tour- you can hear their conversation by clicking on the LISTEN BAR below.
Remides says that while the increase in metro fares triggered the protests- it was the harsh response of the police that really ignited the broader push back by mainly young people all across Chile- with many including their ideas of what injustice looks like. With most young people owning a smart phone- they almost immediately saw the video of a young girl being shot- and that turned the world upside down in many places in Chile. Al says that with the social outburst- thousands of Chileans have grabbed a marker or a can of spray paint and have written a wide variety of slogans or calls for justice. One phrase that he says has shown up in a couple of different ways is "ACAB" (All Cops are B_____) which can also be written in a numeric form "1312."
Seeing the beauty of the Street Art and the passion of the graffiti offered a perspective of the world seldom if ever wtinessed in most of Oklahoma. That view of the world helps provide context as US Agriculture desires to grow markets globally- and that will always include areas in the midst of social upheavel. The ability of OALP to provide that context is invaluable as leaders come out of Class XIX in the days ahead.
You can see our pictures from our Chile travels in the OALP to Chile Album on Flickr- available here.
The intertnational travel to Chile is the Capstone experience for the Class Nineteen Members of the Oklahoma Ag Leadership Program, a two year program that was established in 1982- based on a public-private partnership of Oklahoma State Univerxity and groups and indivisuals invovlved in agriclture. Over 500 graduates of the program have made a difference in rural life and production agriclture locally and nationally,
To learn more about the program- and to find our how you or someone you know can apply to be a part of Class XX- click or tap here.
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