An exhibit and auction to benefit the victims opened yesterday at the Centro de Arte Contemporáneo with 109 pieces from more than 80 artists
18 June 2015 - FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Karen Hinton at +1.703.798.3109
Quito, Ecuador – More than 80 mixed-media artists and photographers have joined the struggle of the indigenous people and peasants of the Orellana and Sucumbíos provinces against Chevron as they continue to seek compensation for environmental damage the company is responsible for in the Ecuadorian Amazon.
The artists have donated their works to be auctioned on June 25 and 26. Proceeds of the auction will be used to fund the ongoing legal battle of the group Unión de Afectados por Texaco (UDAPT), which represents those affected by the operations of Chevron in the Ecuadorian Amazon.
Chevron was ordered by an Ecuadorian court to pay $9.5 billion for damage reparation in the northern Amazon region. Chevron has embarked on a systematic attack against the affected people of the Amazon, as well as lawyers, experts, NGO's, and lenders, with the goal of leaving the victims defenseless. Chevron's plan: that the Amazonian people will give up their fight once they run out of money. However, the affected have absolute conviction and firmness in their struggle, which has been going on for 22 years.
Humberto Piaguaje, coordinator of the UDAPT, has reiterated his commitment to not give up until Chevron pays for its crime. He also indicated that the indigenous people have worked collectively since time immemorial. "Today we are summoning the minga (collective work) for dignity and justice. Part of this minga is the solidarity of the more than 80 Latin American artists, especially Ecuadorian, who have donated their work. In this way, we will show Chevron that the Amazon is not alone and that we will continue this struggle until we can repair the damage done," he stated.
Artists have contributed 109 works of diverse style and media to the auction. Among them are Oswaldo Guayasamín, Pablo Cardoso, Oswaldo Viteri, Mena Franco, Paula Barragán, Pilar Bustos, and Whitman Gualsaquí. "It's beautiful to see that this important part of our society is lending their hand. Their support is an encouragement for those of us who fight for justice," said Pablo Fajardo, the victims' lawyer. "I hope that more sectors of the national and international community follow this example of solidarity that these artists have given us and that together we can globalize justice."
The idea of organizing an auction, which started a year ago, emerged out of the campaign to collect funds. In this process, the collaboration of Pablo Cardoso, the Guayasmín Foundation, and the Casa de la Cultura Ecuatoriana was key, as well as the Centro de Arte Contemporáneo, who is hosting the project. They all helped to shape the "International Art Auction for Dignity and Justice".
"This is not an ordinary auction. There is a social cause behind it that moves all of us," said Pablo Guayasamín of the Guayasamín Foundation. "We cannot remain undaunted in the face of the abuses committed against our brothers and sisters of the Amazon by Chevron; we cannot allow the lungs of the earth to remain contaminated with the waste left by this transnational oil company. This auction gives us all the opportunity to become part of this struggle, the artists by donating their works and the public by acquiring them."
The sale of these works will take place this coming Wednesday in a blind auction with collectors and on Friday 26 in an open ascending price auction open to the public.
The exhibit opened to the public last night in the Cubo Alto of the Centro de Arte Contemporáneo, in the old Military Hospital (Montevideo y Luis Dávila).
Details of the works can be found here.