Call for memories of a 1970s mural uncovered in Leeds University Union

Call for memories of a 1970s mural uncovered in Leeds University Union

A Chilean mural has recently been uncovered in the Leeds University Union (LUU) building.

Created in 1976, the mural is the work of a group of Chilean refugees who came to Leeds to flee the dictatorship of the Pinochet regime. It was originally painted on a student common room wall, and later hidden behind a temporary kitchen.

In partnership with LUU, members of the Chilean community in Yorkshire, MA Art Gallery and Museum Studies students from the School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies are organizing an exhibition this term to recall the mural and its past.

The exhibition is part of a wider project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund which will oversee the restoration of the mural, and will be accompanied by a series of events.

The students’ exhibition will feature the real voices of Chileans who experienced first hand the military dictatorship at the time of the mural’s creation.

As part of the project, the students are also looking for anyone who remembers the mural in its earlier days, before it was covered up, to share their story.

Hitomi Ishida, an MA Art Gallery and Museum Studies student involved with the exhibition project, said:

"As part of our project, we are collecting memories of the mural to document its history through people’s personal experience of how they perceived it from either seeing it or even being involved in creating it.

“The idea is to see whether those who remember the mural were aware of the political implications concerning Pinochet’s overthrow of Allende. We also want to shed light on the mural’s history and on why it was subsequently covered over.

“These memories will form part of our exhibition, in written or audio format, which will open on 7 December.”

If you remember seeing a mural in the Leeds University Union building and are happy to provide some details, please email Hitomi Ishida