Can the flora be considered a witness to history? The interdisciplinary artist-collective Trop cher to share, formed by Aldir Polymeris and Nina Willimann, departed from this question to map the territory of Araucania/Wallmapu (Spanish/Mapundungun), in Chile. Located in the south of the country, this region has been the subject of intense conflicts concerning jurisdictional autonomy, recovery of ancestral lands, economic-productive freedom and the recognition of the Mapuche´s cultural identity.
During their one-month residency, the artists talked with botanists, agriculture and forest engineers, an anthropologist, a biologist, a Machi (traditional Mapuche healer), a Mapuche pharmacist, a bicultural educator, politicians, agriculturists and artists. They visited native forests, a tree nursery, an herbarium, farmers markets, Mapuche and Swiss descendant’s communities, an agriculture and forestry school, natural reserves and forestry plantations.
This closer look at today’s territory provided the artists clear indications of the historical power imbalances in the region. While fast-growing species introduced during military dictatorship dry out the soil, Indigenous perspectives not only refuse indiscriminate exploitation of the land but seek to recognize nature as a protagonist of social organizations.
Trop cher to share will unfold the Araucania research in a future performative project, integrating video and other medias as well as further debates with experts.