Monday, 16 March 2009

Peru: El ojo que llora

I saw the memorial, El ojo que llora, while it was being made in Peru. The workmen were laying out the stones in the Campo de Marte, while thousands more stones were waiting in bags:

Then I watched videos of the opening ceremony on Youtube. Later, I saw photographs of the vandalism inflicted on the memorial, as it was covered in red paint. It's pretty unpleasant to realise that there are those who have so little respect that they would attempt to destroy a memorial to people who died.

Heartening, though, is this post by Jaqueline Fowks on the continuing use of the memorial. In the image, you can see flowers left on the stones by visitors. It's a small gesture, but an important one. You can erect as many monuments as you like but if they are left forgotten in some park that no one needs to walk through they are completely useless. Memory sites need to be interacted with, and the depositing of objects is one way of doing that. The Vietnam Veterans' Memorial in Washington is one such site where numerous items of memorabilia have been deposited and where people use the memorial as a means to express their feelings and to recall the dead. El ojo que llora is comparatively new, but it seems to be finding its place in the memory landscape of Peru.


Barbara Drake said...

I learned from Lika Mutal that she is going to replace the original stones in El ojo que llora, on which were handwritten the names of those killed in the conflict, with stones in which the names are inscribed/incised.

The permanent marker that she orginally used has faded, and the names are barely legible now, so Mutal has decided to carve them in permanently. I think that the German government may be donating money to pay the carvers for their work.

That would make the memory more permanent.

thanks for the link. :)
--An American in Lima

Lillie Langtry said...

How interesting, thanks for adding that info. Um, wow, what a lot of work though. I got to see some of the stones close up before they went on the memorial and there was just so many bags of them... Imagine doing that all again. Still, carving does sound a more satisfactory longterm solution. I wonder if this German donation is instead of or in addition to the proposed museum cash?