Art Helps Victims Find Meaning Amid Devastation

TOMÉ, CHILE (October 20, 2011) – Mission Friends Covenant Church is working with women artists in the nearby community of Dichato, who are reclaiming their lives and hoping to enrich others spiritually and economically more than a year after a deadly earthquake and tsunami devastated the area.

Since the tragedy, the church has helped supply basic needs such as water, toilets, and showers, along with construction materials and related items. Artists always have helped people look beyond hard times, and that has been true in Dichato.

The artists are repurposing broken tiles recovered from homes the tsunami destroyed. The women recently launched “Mosiacs With History.”

“We have observed that as these communities have begun to create murals, reliefs, carvings and the like, their spirit and desire to move forward have begun to noticeably improve,” says Luciano Silva, Mission Friends pastor.

“Our congregation is helping (the artists) to find broken tiles and provide glue and other materials for the projects,” says Silva. “We are also providing other artistic materials for those who work with other media such as oil and acrylic paints, canvas, paint brushes, pallet knives and so on. We hope to establish a website so that their work will be known in other countries.”

The mosaics will be sold this summer to pay for miscellaneous expenses in rebuilding their lives and village, says Silva. Summer occurs in Chile when it is winter in the northern hemisphere.

Earthquakes struck the region twice in the past two years. In 2010, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake caused little damage, but frightened the residents who had survived a disaster in 2009.

On February 27 of that year, an 8.8 magnitude earthquake and resulting tsunami claimed the lives of at least 570 people.

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