Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (UC): Mural of the chapel of the Oriente UC campus was inaugurated

The painting on wood is the work of Camila Valenzuela, a former student of the School of Art. She was the winner of the creation contest organized by Pastoral UC to choose the artist who would paint the mural for the UC East Campus Chapel.

Full of colors and “quoting” famous works from the history of art, the new mural in the chapel of the East campus came to illuminate a small space located in the center of the establishment. The wall, located just behind the altar, is the first thing you see when you open the door of the chapel.

The mural was created by Camila Valenzuela von Appen, under the theme of the mystery of the Incarnation, within the framework of the Domus Dei Contest , organized by the Directorate of Pastoral Care and Christian Culture in conjunction with the Faculty of Arts .

The inauguration was carried out after a mass attended by members of the university community and the author of the work. It was attended by the rector Ignacio Sánchez, the dean of the Faculty of Arts, Alexei Vergara, the general chaplain of the UC, Father Jorge Merino, and the chaplain of the Oriente campus, Father Jorge Concha, among others.

The rector Ignacio Sánchez expressed: “This chapel, its smallness makes it great. Its centrality manifests what we want: a prayer space in the heart of this campus. The contest organized by the Pastoral allowed the entire community to participate in the creation of this mural, because students, ex-students and external students competed”.

“This mural combines something as tremendous as the crucifixion with hope and the joy of that hope. The lamb could not have been better represented than there in the tabernacle. It amazes me how art can recreate a new reality and stir up hope and new projections in each one of us”, stressed the rector.

The artist Camila Valenzuela thanked Father Javier Concha, the Faculty of Arts and the Pastoral UC. “I would like to tell a couple of essential things and thank everyone who helped me. The theme of the contest was the theme of the incarnation and the big question was how to represent a theme that seems so abstract. That is why the work begins with the annunciation and ends with the crucifixion, ”she indicated.

“Even the smallest flower of the work is located inside the East campus,” said Camila Valenzuela.
The mural shows two fundamental scenes in this spiritual process: The Annunciation of the angel Gabriel to Mary and the Crucifixion of Jesus. But there are also two characters who act in a symbolic way: a lamb that embodies the sacrifice, on the Tabernacle; and a white dove or Holy Spirit on the cross, as a witness to his own history.

The former student of the Faculty of Arts explained that her work is designed based on quotes, that is, including images of works from the history of art: “I wanted the passage of time to be evident in the quotes, that there were different hands. This was carried over to the entire frame.”

The choice of images used correspond to: Renaissance (Fra Angelico, The Annunciation, 1426 and Van Eyck brothers, Ghent Polyptych, 1430-1432), Baroque (El Greco, The Annunciation, 1597-1600) and Post-Impressionism (Paul Gauguin , The Yellow Christ, 1889).

The context that surrounds the images consists of trees, plants and flowers, which are found particularly inside the patios of the Faculty of Arts. This environment constitutes a kind of Garden of Eden. However, they make sense under the scene of The Creation as the first work of God; thanks to her the previous conditions for the Incarnation existed.

“Even the smallest flower of the work is located inside the Oriente campus,” Camila pointed out.

I’m very happy. It is an honor for me to be here. After 10 years of graduating from this university, I have returned to continue learning. I want to say thank you for that and I want this mural to accompany everyone who visits this chapel well, ”she indicated.

Father Javier Concha , who blessed the mural, declared: “Christ is the visible image of God, who is invisible” (Col 1,15). From the event of the Incarnation, art has been able to represent the invisible God, helping the soul to raise its gaze towards the transcendent and allowing it an even greater proximity with that God who has decided to dwell among us. The Domus Dei project is a spiritual and pastoral contribution to the evangelization of all those who can contemplate the face of a God who reveals himself to us and has wanted to share our nature with all its fragility”.

For his part, Alexei Vergara, dean of the Faculty of Arts , said that the mural represents several important things for the faculty: “It is an action that takes up the historical link between the visual arts and spirituality and the challenge it poses for an artist that search and that sometimes gets lost in the ups and downs of contingency. It is also a very interesting trace of a concrete artistic action that will remain on campus for many years; this is unusual on a campus stripped of art but now perhaps seeking to leave more traces of artists. Finally, it represents a virtuous and creative artistic collaboration between the pastoral, the arts school and the arts decant, which could be the starting point for several other actions”.