Saturday, September 10, 2016

Bachelet encabezará en Washington ceremonia por 40 años de asesinato de Letelier


Bachelet encabezará en Washington ceremonia por 40 años de asesinato de Letelier

La presidenta de Chile, Michelle Bachelet, encabezará en Washington el 22 y 23 de septiembre las ceremonias por el 40º aniversario del atentado con bomba que mató al excanciller chileno Orlando Letelier en la capital estadounidense.

ART IS PUBLIC The Making of a Mural - Fresno Art Museum

Ghost Town wows Venice

Todas Las Manos afternoon of Inspired Conversation September 11, 2016

“Todas las Manos” at the American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center.
The political is personal in all of these shows, but especially in “Todas las Manos” (“All Hands”), a series of five mural-style paintings on canvas. These depict Orlando Letelier, Ronni Karpen Moffitt and Rodrigo Rojas, all killed by agents of the former Chilean government. The artist, who worked on the project with children from the District’s Latin American Youth Center, is Francisco Letelier, Orlando Letelier’s son.
To Washingtonians, these are not distant events. Moffitt and the senior Letelier were killed by a car bomb detonated at Sheridan Circle 40 years ago. Rojas, who died in Chile 30 years ago after being set on fire, grew up in the District, where he was friends with the younger Letelier. Yet the painter recalls these crimes without anger. The mural prominently features a bloom known in Chile as “the flower of reconciliation.”

Thursday, May 5, 2016


Experience the first ever Venice Art Week, May 15-May 22, 2016,
through three independent events:
The Venice ARTBLOCK Open Studios Sunday May 15, 11-6PM
 The Venice Art Crawl Thursday May 19, 6-10PM &
The Venice Art Walk Sunday May 22, 12-6PM

     The sixth Venice ARTBLOCK Open Studios takes place on Sunday May 15 from 11-6. Offered free to the public, the highly anticipated event showcases the art and artists that make up the soul of Venice, providing a fascinating glimpse into established studios and emerging artist’s spaces. Centered in the Oakwood neighborhood and Abbott Kinney Boulevard, ARTBLOCK calls attention to the vitality and importance of the arts in Venice and the diverse art district that is undergoing rapid change.

     In their sixth event with an estimated 70 venues and many more artists, ARTBLOCK 2016 emphasizes new forms of access to the arts and invites the public of all ages to join in public arts activities and workshops along its route.

    Endorsed by a wide range of cultural and civic organizations, ARTBLOCK is a grantee of the Arts Activation Fund, created by Mayor Eric Garcetti to support creative community-benefit projects in Los Angeles.
Pick up a map at: 1003 Gallery and Lounge -1003 Abbot Kinney Blvd.
Weir/Quiton Studio - 360 Sunset Ave.- (4th and Sunset Ave.) Letelier Studio – 567 ¾ Brooks Ave and adjoining alley- 6th Avenue at Indiana Court 
David Tanych/ Meryl Lebowitz Studio - corner of 5th Avenue and Westminster Blvd.
The Distillery/ Artist Studios- 361 Vernon Ave. (Sunset Court)
Social and Public Art Resource Center /SPARC - 685 Venice Blvd.   
Venice, California 90291
Look for the Yellow flags, grab a map and explore. Shuttle buses and pedicabs will be available. For info and to download a route map:
     The Venice Art Crawl takes place Thursday May 19 from 6-10PM and it's FREE.
The VAC promotes businesses and studios opening up their spaces to share art diversity in various neighborhoods including ten homes on the one block street Park Place between Main Street and Pacific Avenue, as well as new participants on Lincoln Boulevard near Venice Boulevard. "BEAUTY is the EYE of the BEHOLDER" will be on display by international photographers Bobbi Bennett, featuring traditional color prints. This exhibit is housed at the Bobbi Bennett Studio, 1145 Harrison Ave one block north of Washington Boulevard.  There will be a unique student show of various mediums at Venice Arts, 1702 Lincoln Boulevard, a nonprofit arts organization committed to providing high-impact arts education for low-income youth,  The Venice Art Crawl spreads as far north as Rose Avenue and as far south as Washington Boulevard, and has a western border of Pacific Ave and an eastern border of Lincoln Boulevard. The information booths will be at Venice Arts 1702 Lincoln Boulevard, Love Shack 2121 Lincoln Boulevard and Danny's Venice 23 Windward Avenue. Hop on the Venice Art Crawl shuttle, the Rasta Bus that will transport people up and down Lincoln Boulevard throughout the celebratory evening. For more information and to download the VAC map with all the participants and pop up galleries go to www.

     Venice Family Clinic’s Venice Art Walk & Auctions is happening Sunday May 22, Google Los Angeles, 340 Main Street. Tickets for the Art & Architecture Tours, Angel events and Artist Studio Tour can be purchased online or at 310-664-7916. With the support of artists, volunteers and 6,000+ attendees, Venice Art Walk & Auctions showcases emerging and established LA artists and raises over $750,000 to fund health care for the 24,000 low-income, uninsured and homeless patients of Venice Family Clinic. Experience exceptional art and make a meaningful impact in your community at this not-to-be-missed annual event. Hosted at Google Los Angeles, Venice Family Clinic’s Art Walk & Auctions is free and open to the public and showcases a gallery-quality contemporary silent art auction. Don’t miss the accompanying artist studio tours, artisan shops, family activities, entertainment, music, food and more. For further details

     Come celebrate art, artists, community and the spirit of Venice, May 15-May 22. 

Venice Clown Rekindled


A 10' x 10' cloth mural, stretched on plumbing pipe, featuring the Venice Ballerina Clown with tattoos on his arms representing homeless victims of violence this summer in Venice, homeless people at the top background, people taking selfies near a sign that says "STOP calling it Silicon Beach," drawings by evicted Venice artist William Attaway in the lower right corner and an artist working on a chalk mandala, which was also happening at the Abbot Kinney Festival yesterday. — with Francisco Letelier at On Broadway between Electric Ave. and Main St.

ARTBLOCK Open Studios- Sunday May 15, 2016 11-6pm

 Francisco Letelier                                                                        
 Ara Bevaqua


Venice ARTBLOCK Open Studios
 May 15th, 20016
A journey into the heart of Venice

The highly anticipated Venice ARTBLOCK Open Studios 2016 will be held on Sunday May 15th from 11-6pm.

The event is offered free to the public, providing a fascinating glimpse into established studios and emerging artist’s spaces tucked away throughout the neighborhood giving visitors imaginative opportunities to join in public art activities and other creative events. Centered in the Oakwood neighborhood and Abbott Kinney Boulevard and spreading to other locations, ARTBLOCK calls attention to the vitality and importance of the arts in Venice and the diverse art district that is undergoing rapid change.

In their sixth event with an estimated 70 venues and many more artists, Venice ARTBLOCK Open Studios 2016 ARTBLOCK is included in the first cohort of grantees for the Arts Activation Fund, created by Mayor Eric Garcetti, to support creative community-benefit projects in Los Angeles.

The ARTBLOCK map, listing studios and activities, invites the public to share a sense of place and community as they guide themselves along the route on the streets and alleys of Venice.  Winding through murals, street art, live art and chalk mandalas, there is something for art lovers of all ages, including critically acclaimed exhibitions and the work of noted contemporary artists.

A wide range of cultural and civic organizations endorses the group, including Venice Community Housing Corporation, The Venice Arts Council, The Office of City Councilman Mike Bonin, The Venice Neighborhood Council, The Social and Public Art Resource Center, The Mural Conservancy of Los Angeles and The City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs. The public is encouraged to walk or ride the route on bikes; however, shuttle buses are available for transport to all locations on the route. 
Pick up a map along the route, or at:

     1003 Gallery and Lounge -1003 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Weir/Quiton Studio - 360 Sunset Ave.-
     Letelier  Studio - 6th Avenue at Indiana Court 
     David Tanych/ Meryl Lebowitz Studio - corner of 5th Avenue and Westminster Blvd.
     The Distillery/ Artist Studios- 361 Vernon Ave.
     Wndow Space -  361Vernon Ave
     Social and Public Art Resource Center /SPARC - 685 Venice Blvd. 
     Rohitash Rao Studio 1637 Electric Ave.   Venice, California 90291  

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Photo Kelly Layne 2016

Guardian Mural Rekindled.

After waiting more than 2 months we finally get word that the Red Cross has signed our contract. Having lots of fun at this great site. All the folks that work on the Avis lot are kind, helpful and supportive even though they have to move cars and watch out for the guy overhead. We are all bilingual and the mural really seems to create bridges of understanding between all of us including customers, pedestrians and the guys that live in the alley.
It has been a remarkable experience; working in the hot sun on a South facing wall, hearing the traffic and occasional beep from friends and passerby.  Lost in a field of orange, I sway in the afternoon deftly controlling a mechanical beast that makes it possible for me to reach new heights.
Thanks to Beautify Earth, Heather Rabun, The Santa Monica Red Cross and all the individuals that made the project possible through their support of out Indiegogo campaign.

Friday, October 23, 2015

The Guardian Mural Project with Beautify Earth for the Santa Monica Red Cross

A mural for the Santa Monica Red Cross
Francisco Letelier with Beautify Earth
For more than three decades I have been making murals and public art that express the dreams and histories of communities and individuals.
Beautify Earth is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization that offers love to neglected communities through the installation of public murals. They are working in communities across the United States, putting an end to blighted walls and fixtures by empowering artists, encouraging social responsibility, and instilling community pride in impoverished or neglected communities and streets.
I am working with Beautify Earth to create a mural for the Santa Monica Red Cross. We share the conviction that acts of imagination can lead to profound change. As part of the greater efforts of Beautify Earth, the mural will add to the momentum already started on Broadway Avenue, creating a cluster of murals situated near each other for a gallery effect.
The Santa Monica Red Cross is one of the oldest civic organizations in the city, founded in 1918 by the historic Santa Monica Bay Women's Club. A largely volunteer organization, the efforts of the Santa Monica Red Cross chapter have left a tremendous impact on the lives of thousands across generations. The chapter serves more than 90,000 people over 16 square miles. Nonetheless, many remain uninformed about the work they accomplish. Despite the organization's enduring commitment to its surrounding communities many overlook its heroic dimensions and take for granted the importance of its tasks. For every crisis, every fire, every earthquake within its district, the Red Cross shows up for those who are in need.
I am asking my extended community to help create a place of imagination and memory through a public art work. I invite you to join me in giving a sense of place and belonging to an organization that has responded to human need for close to a century.Through its staff and volunteers the Santa Monica Red Cross consistently acknowledges the power of cooperation and helps reveal the inherent strength of our communities.Together, lets create a public monument that celebrates that spirit for their upcoming centennial.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Already Home installation and public art project Venice, CA

-->Already Home  Francisco Letelier

         I began this installation amid the sounds of my neighborhood. Shopping carts and the conversations of passersby mix with the shuffle of those who sleep down the alley, the steps of mothers and children and the reverberation of car engines.
         I have lived in this neighborhood for many years and carry myriad details about the people who live here.  Towards evening when I take a stroll, I look east through the alley hoping for a glimpse of the soccer players who turn it into a field. I wonder how long it will be before they must move elsewhere. In the garage next-door a famous domino game was conducted for decades. Seven days a week Willie and his friends played on, sometimes around the clock. Old timers and those who grew up around here know this stretch of alley as a vibrant cultural landmark. Sometimes I still hear a phantom slap as a domino hits the table.         
         Over the years many shootings have occurred where the alley meets 6 th Avenue. In front of the Viva Dogtown Mural, there is a new sidewalk. The roots of the coral tree that stood there for a lifetime once created a tumbled and treacherous walkway, a place where sellers and buyers could meet in shadows. 6 th and Brooks was a place where crack flagged you down and addicts walked searching the ground for a lost fragment of just one small hit please. Those of us who still live here have witnessed our community change in significant ways, but we have not yet forgotten the sound of ghetto birds and semi-automatic gunfire.
         Through the last decades most of us were somehow making home, building a shelter the size of our dreams. Throughout the good and the bad we were raising children, holding on, growing gardens and hope. The police often arrived in the neighborhood and treated most of us, if not all, as suspects: few escaped being interrogated, questioned, harassed or arrested. It was hard then, but the truth is that perhaps it has not become any easier.
         Gangs of one kind have been replaced by other innovations. A different kind of violence, one that leaves people living on the streets and criminalizes poverty has arrived in a more powerful and virulent way. It’s helpful to remember that this was the ‘hood that no one wanted, where the weird and rebellious were commonplace. Here you could still make things work on a shoestring and keep it simple. Now other people want these alleys, these properties. 
         It’s become difficult to keep a foothold and, if that happens, most cannot afford the rent. Those who can pay erect mansions and replace the space where communities built memory and myth. Cardboard encampments grow, new restaurants and businesses arrive, while the diverse artists and cultures that once wove the essence of Venice are displaced.
         Few see the parrots that fly through the high trees, or recognize the kestrels and red-tailed hawks that perch in high branches, eluding the groups of crows that mercilessly harangue them. Fewer recognize that these streets are full of hummingbirds, their calls and the whir of wings is never far away. Fortunately, some things persist. On Sunday morning in the house of the Lord on the corner of Brooks and 5th Avenue people still sing Gospel even if they have to drive from the valley to do it. Regardless of the changes the fruit and vegetable truck still rolls by, the tamale seller makes her rounds.
All of us seek shelter, a home. I join a multitude of others in believing that everyone has the right to food and housing, regardless of circumstance. I also believe we can gently help those around us to open their eyes and hearts to all who share our community. May common sense prevail, may no one remain invisible or neglected.

This installation gathers thoughts about shelter, home and community and become a catalyst for conversations that imagine a future for everyone. If it moves you, please make an artistic contribution and be part of Already Home, a portable public and collective installation. 

Participants at Venice Artwalk May 17 2015

Monday, November 10, 2014

Between Thorns and Thistles

At night I go to bed exhausted with a swirl of images in my mind.

Painting on the streets of Bil'in, Palestine is hard work and I have trouble sleeping. 
The morning call to prayers comes right when I am beginning to unwind. Nonetheless,
every morning I arise in the early dawn with a clear vision about what to paint next.
At home before I travel, I begin to think about thistles. They are a classic plant,
appearing in the bible, and in many world geographies. The thistle is a plant ripe for metaphor and symbolic use, virulent and fire-resistant; it has lovely thorns and needs little water.  It persists. 

Milk thistle is also known as Holy Thistle, a flowering herb related to the daisy, it commonly grows in Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East. It has bright pink, purple, and occasionally white flowers. It's popular in flower arrangements. The seeds can be harvested to make tea with many beneficial qualities.

Repeated exposure to toxins such as tear gas, fumes from burning plastic or trash, fear, occupation by military forces and physical beating can leave your liver damaged and working less effectively than it would otherwise. Milk Thistle tea benefits the liver, helping in purification and detoxification. This is seen as beneficial to people who are experiencing a loss of human rights and other disorders.
In these kinds of conditions anger, fear and violence can accumulate and its best to flush waste buildup from the system and the prickly thistle can serve as an ally.
There are many kinds of thistle that are beneficial and Holy Thistle, (Silybum marianum) is often confused with Blessed Thistle (Cnicus benedictus). This latter variety treats bubonic plague and was even used as a tonic by monks. It may be able to prevent heart disease, and so also ease the symptoms caused by the loss of loved ones, incarcerated family members, as well as the heartbreak of a hopeless future.

After demonstrations and exposure to tear gas and other crowd control substances, gauze can be soaked in Blessed Thistle and applied to the skin to treat skin inflammations, boils, wounds, and ulcers. Thistles seem to withstand the toughest conditions and overcome the harshest challenges, and it seems appropriate that Blessed Thistle, often labeled an invasive and noxious weed has anti bacterial properties and is used to promote milk flow in new mothers.

(Blessed thistle is also used as a flavoring in alcoholic beverages as well, but it is not listed on the small batches of beer brought to Bil'in by International smugglers during our residency.)

 In the rugged hills and lands surrounding Bil'in, a number of other thorny plants grow. The flower heads of the stout prickly thistle known as 'Akkub or Kankar are reputed a delicacy worth all the trouble of gathering and preparation, the freeing from the sharper spines, and the blackened hands gained in the process. The plant, Gundelia tournefortii, tastes like a cross between asparagus and artichoke. Even though it is sold in Jerusalem markets, especially the young plant's thick stem and undeveloped flower buds, Israelis do not eat it, but Palestinians do.

 In perfect Bedouin style the plant is considered a tumbleweed. It's use is mentioned in the Babylonian Talmud and the Bible. The plant was called Silybum by Pedanius Dioscorides born in 40 AD. The Turkish born physician, pharmacologist and botanist of antiquity, authored De Materia Medica, the precursor to all modern pharmacopeias regarding herbal medicine and related medicinal substances. It was widely read for more than 1,500 years. The work is the best source for information about the medicines used by the Greeks, Romans, and other cultures of antiquity. De Materia Medica was reproduced in manuscript form through the centuries,  and often supplemented with commentary and minor additions from Arabic sources. A number of densely illustrated Arabic copies survive from the 12th and 13th centuries. In the medieval period, De Materia Medica was circulated in Latin, Greek, and Arabic. Its interesting to note that the work was not "rediscovered" in the Renaissance, because the book never left circulation. 

There is more to the hills and terraced land than meets the eye. There is so much more
to Palestinian culture and history than the myth of impoverished and ramshackle Arab villages that is used to justify the colonization and occupation of this land.  

The tale of the 'Akkub (Hathi haddoutet el 'Akkub):
Collected by the Center of Folktales and Folklore in Haifa, Israel:

There was once a merchant who was traveling through the wilderness with a stranger, and he murdered the stranger for the sake of his riches. As the wounded man fell he grasped at an 'Akkub plant that grew by his hand and cried out with his last breath, "This 'Akkub is my witness that you have murdered me."

But the merchant thought nothing of that and went away with the stranger's possessions.

Years passed and he traveled again through the wilderness and passed that place this time with his friend and partner. The 'Akkub was dead and dry and was whirling about, dancing in the wind. The merchant smiled as he saw it and his friend said, "Why do you smile?"

At first he would not say why, but the friend compelled him. Then he said "I smile, because here I once slew a stranger, and before he died he cried, 'This 'Akkub is my witness that you killed me,' and now the 'Akkub is dead and dances in the wind."

More years passed and one day the merchant quarreled with his friend and struck him. The friend in anger cried out, "Will you slay me as you slew the stranger?" so loud that the neighbors heard. An inquiry was made and at last the merchant was brought to justice. The 'Akkub was indeed the witness.

This story is used proverbially to this day. Villagers will say "The 'Akkub is the witness"

I bring a small sketch of thistles with me to Bil'in, scratched in the margin is the word, persist. One morning I look through the visual materials I have brought with me, along with the notes and sketches accumulated in our workshops with people from the village and it becomes clear that the symbolic thistle encapsulates many of the collective feelings and stories. As the rising sun warms the white walls along the main road we begin painting monumental thistles. We have a vibrant mix of collaborators with us that morning, including, young men, women and children. I am wearing my painting clothes, but the women are impeccably dressed with long skirts and head coverings. Each manages to work without dripping paint on their clothes. As the images appear on the walls, cars slow down and there is a constant honking of horns. Amidst the dust and noise we continue until each thorn is finished. Later a local tells me the thistle is used in the Jordan River Valley as a symbol of resistance to the occupation. He shows me a leaflet with an image of a thistle similar to the ones we have painted, the slogan says, 'To exist is to resist.' Yet many are not familiar with its symbolic use and when an older man on a white donkey ambles by, he engages me in conversation. "What is meaning? He asks in broken but understandable English. I point at the plant and pantomime kicking it and digging it up and make gestures that show it comes back, blooms again. He nods his head, yes, yes.
"Even fire, always life. Thank you"

  In the Old City of Jerusalem, after I leave Bil'in, I visit the chapel built at the site where Jesus is reputed to have been whipped, the Church of the Flagellation. The church has a beautiful gold dome designed in mosaic as a crown of thorns. As a boy, I was always most struck by this aspect of the stories told about the man that was Jesus. He was able to take a whipping, wear a crown of thorns and carry a heavy cross all because of his love for us regular humans. I found it both mysterious and perplexing. As a kid I figured it meant I should let our housekeeper whip me but not tell my mother because it would worry her. Later it came to represent the deprivations and austerities that come with trying to make the world a little better. In Chile and throughout Latin America much of the work done for social justice is connected to understanding both the suffering of Christ as well as his desire to be with those in need, the poor and forgotten. This understanding transcends political and religious affiliations; the constituency of the continent remains deeply Catholic even if we work in a secular manner.

I do not consider the work we do in Bil'in as entirely unselfish. The artistic satisfaction and the human payoffs are huge personal rewards. Our work in Bil'in takes all my mental and creative abilities as well all my physical strength and stamina, yet each day I find a reservoir of energy and ideas. The crown of thorns worn by Jesus and his suffering also came with rewards I suppose,
 it's pretty cool to die and come back to life a few days later.

I take a seat in the front pew, and think about 13-year-old, Bahaa Samir Badir. He is the young boy who is shot in the chest and killed in the village of Beit Laqiya, just 24 hours after a similar IDF (Israeli Defense Force/ Army) raid we experienced in neighboring Bil'in during the small hours of the morning. Bahaa Samir was 13, the age of my youngest son Salvador. He will not come back from the dead. 

I give thanks for life, all of us have emerged from our visit to Palestine unscathed. Later, when I read more about the Church of the Flagellation I learn that archaeologists have placed the place where Jesus was actually whipped and fitted with a crown on the other side of town.

When leaving the church I join a large crowd of people who are leaving services held the Al-Aqsa Mosque. I blend into the devoted moslems, Arabs who amble out of the city peacefully towards East Jerusalem, past streets bristling with weapons and stiff lines of IDF soldiers. Thistles grow in the Valley of Kings, the widening trench that runs below the old city and the Mount of Olives and I walk towards the Arab neighborhood of Silwan. At the entrance to the neighborhood I visit the Siloam Pool, a site mentioned in the Bible where it is believed Jesus healed a blind man. I talk to Arab Christian boys who invite me into their home for coffee. Inside the whole family welcomes me, they have never been to Bil'in, they are unclear of where it lies, they are Arabs from Jerusalem and have lived here for millennia.

That evening, in my reading, I come across the astounding idea that the crown of thorns may have actually been made from Gundelia tournefortii or A'kkub. In 1999 the infamous Shroud of Turin was analyzed for pollen grains and plant images. Some believe the Shroud to be the burial cloth of Jesus, but scientific studies show its origin in Jerusalem before the 8th Century. The analysis, presented at the Internationl Botanical Congess in 1999, identifies a high density of pollen of the tumbleweed. Near the image of the man's shoulder imprinted on the shroud analysts declare they can devise an image of A'kkub.

A'kkub is the witness. Our murals of thistles are part of ongoing creative efforts to use non-violent direct action in Bil'in. There are few who will disagree that people will always struggle for self-determination. We have been the first cultural delegation to carry out a residency in the village and our actions have received support from Palestinian, International and Israeli activists,  creating the possibility of  new dialogues and understandings. Despite the fires, these actions and modes of communication are proliferating.

No matter what side of the road you are on or what stream of history and culture you identify with, it's good to emulate thistles and other democratic and enduring life forms.
As leaders in the movement for self-determination in Bil'in and throughout Israeli and Arab Palestine often say, "One state or two states?” is not the right question to start with. “The right question to ask is, ‘What is the right thing to do that will guarantee the safety  security, peace and humanity of everybody in the long run?’
Once we can agree, we’ll work toward that.”

Perhaps there is no singular right thing, but cultural action helps us have the conversations that must occur, helps us create common goals as we learn to co exist with the painful memories and powerful cultures that exist on both sides.
An intergenerational and international thistle painting crew

Thistles growing in the Valley of Kings

Tear gas grenade that has set fire to brush and thistles in the Olive Groves near the Barrier Wall.

Walking to school in the morning, Boys inspect the painted walls.


A'kkub is the witness

Girls on the way home from school in Bil'in.