Thursday, May 24, 2012

La catedral

Symbols of modernization
Fernando Llort’s “Harmony of our People” was a giant mural installed on the façade of the Metropolitan Cathedral in 1997 and destroyed on January 1, 2012.  The mural was heavily symbolic of the commitment of the church to the marginalized peoples of El Salvador.  The mural featured a traditional folk aesthetic and decorated the façade of the Metropolitan Cathedral where Archbishop Óscar Romero, widely respected for his advocacy for the poor and assassinated in 1980 while giving mass, is buried.  The first peace conversations between the government and the Frente Farabundo Martí para la Liberación Nacional (FMLN) guerrilla group were held there.   In 1992, when the Peace Accords were signed, FMLN celebrations took place in the plaza just outside the Metropolitan Cathedral.  Last December, the Catholic Church decided the Cathedral needed renovation. In the midst of this renovation came the surprise disappearance of Llort’s mural, which was ironically in the process of becoming officially protected as part of the national heritage.  The Archdiocese claimed that the mural was destroyed because damaged tiles were a hazard to pedestrians. However, this is widely perceived by Salvadorans as an excuse for destroying the mural.  Today, the Metropolitan Cathedral is whitewashed and plain.  It is hard not to interpet the renovation of a symbolic historic place into a seemingly modern “non-place,” as characteristic of the country’s current “transition.”   


 Photo: Facebook group Los indignados por el mural      Photo: Galindo-Doucette 24 de mayo



Photo: Facebook group Los indignados por el mural

Photo: Facebook group Los indignados por el mural 

Sales outside of the Cathedral

 Sales outside of the Cathedral


 Inside the Cathedral

 Remains of Monseñor Romero


 Remains of Monseñor Romero
 Remains of Monseñor Romero

 Plaza across from the Cathedral

 Plaza across from the Cathedral

 Plaza across from the Cathedral

WJT Mitchell — Notes on Picture Theory

In analyzing the “pictorial turn” in his book Picture Theory, Mitchell begins by raising important questions about how images reference t...