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It all started in 2013, when I made an animita necklace to remember my father. It was the beginning of my path through art jewelry. A jewelry of reflection and experimentation through which I am able to understand my world and the things that move me about it.

This work continued in 2014 when I learned about the almost extinct tradition of making tin crowns for the cemeteries of the saltpeter mines in the desert in northern Chile. These crowns, once rusted, closely resembled my animita. This is how the Siempre Viva collection was born.


Animitas, crosses, deserts, sun, reliquaries, colorful flower crowns, rusty flower crowns, and others, are part of this imaginary. The main materials used are copper, patinas and resin. In addition, each landscape is created with spices such as cinnamon, pepper, semolina and toasted flour among others.
Siempre Viva is a look at the syncretism that manifests itself in the cult of the dead. The animitas and the colorful desert cemeteries are expressions of the worldview and aesthetics of the original peoples that have slipped through time and persist until today. A colorful, decorated and accompanied death.
This production of photos from 2014 is one of my favorites. We did it in front of the animita known as El Mirador de Elías, in Laguna Verde. Something magical happened that day, like everything that has happened since I cheered up my dad.

At a bend in the path, on the edge of the cliff, the barrier opens and a dirt esplanade appears. In the center, a small house, almost invisible, surrounded by a garden of natural and artificial flowers, in turn surrounded by white railings. Behind, a sign: "Mirador Elias, a gift from God, a son never dies." On the sides, 3 benches and some pine trees, framing the clean horizon. Below, the great ocean and to one side, tiny, Laguna Verde, among the forest. Sunny afternoon, blue sky and sea, soft breeze, silence, peace, giant ants, yellow flowers.

How to locate the parents? how to ask for permission would they be angry? Would it be offensive to do a production of photos there? All these things I wondered.
We had been taking the photos for a while, when a bus appeared that parked in front of the animita. A slightly older couple got out. They came with a shovel, buckets and other things. They were Elias's parents.

And we talk. I told them what I was doing, I told them that it had all started with the animita necklace that I made for my dad. I showed them the jewelry, I told him about the photographer, the model, about me. They showed me all the anonymous gifts that their soul had, while they were tidying up the little garden. The father told me about how when they made the new road, they had put up the barrier preventing access to the animita, and how he had managed to get the authorities to listen to him and open an entrance for him to visit his son. He even took out of the trunk of his car, a newspaper with the news for him to read. 2 full pages recounting his feat, but I was also able to read how the young Elías had thrown himself in his car down the ravine one night in 2007.


"My boy does good things for people" his mother told me, and one by one they showed me all the objects that people had started to leave them. A cap, a handkerchief, a picture, some thank-you plates, some solar lanterns tied to the white fence to illuminate it at night. A family from the south even came to spend the new year with him, they told me. "And the benches and pine trees planted around it were put up by people who came, we left them as we found them." This is how this place grows.
Thank you Elias for this beautiful place, the sunny afternoon, the beautiful photos and for introducing me to your parents.
Photography and post: Pilar Castro
Model: Luna Aballay
Makeup: Daniel Sepulveda
Production, costumes and jewelry: Casa Kiro Joyas
Location: Animita Mirador Elías, Laguna Verde

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