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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Argentine Muralist Brings Human Rights to Life in Folwell Hall

by Laura Schroeder

DSCN2459.JPGOne of the most striking squares in the human rights mural created by Argentinean artist, Miguel Rep depicts a gun severing the umbilical cord of a pregnant woman with a sinister hand outstretched, poised to snatch her newborn child. This and other images of the "Dirty War" in Argentina came from the artistic production carried out in Folwell Hall from February 29th to March 3rd, 2012.





by Laura Schroeder
"The work of art is a scream of freedom." -Christo

One of the most striking squares in the human rights mural created by Argentinean artist, Miguel Rep depicts a gun severing the umbilical cord of a pregnant woman with a sinister hand outstretched, poised to snatch her newborn child. This and other images of the "Dirty War" in Argentina came from the artistic production carried out in Folwell Hall from February 29th to March 3rd, 2012.
Rep's visit occurred in conjunction with the XVII The State of Iberoamerican Studies Series: Human Rights Across the Disciplines. Professor Ana Forcinito, who invited the muralist, said it was important to showcase Rep's work because "art has the ability to transcend barriers and it formed an important part of the fight against impunity and human rights abuses in Argentina." Besides his art about human rights Rep has created pieces on democracy, the military dictatorship and Argentinean literature. Rep believes that human rights art is depicted less often than it is written and, because of this, he seeks to represent the underrepresented form. Rep acknowledges that "human rights are difficult themes to represent, but art works with this complexity." As Forcinito said, "it is one thing to talk about torture, but it is another to see it."
The mural is composed of twelve colored squares and each individual square in the mural narrates a separate story about human rights. The moment Rep finishes a work, it is no longer his, it has entered the public discourse. When asked about what he wants the public to take from the mural, Rep said that he "hopes that this particular mural is useful to the public", in that it raises questions and discussions. Forcinito was particularly moved by the white spaces present in the mural. She thought that it helped to illustrate the idea that some narratives are unrepresentable, yet still equally present. The mural, which will be on display in Folwell Hall, engages will engage audiences for years to come on human rights issues across several disciplines, as it also gives voice to many underrepresented narratives.