15. January 2012 · Comments Off on San Salvador’s Cathedral · Categories: Thoughts

San Salvador's Cathedral Before and After

On December 29th, 2011 El Salvador lost one of its most iconic pieces of art. Since 1997, “La Armonía de mi Pueblo” the name given to the ceramic tile mosaic by Salvadorean Artist Fernando Llort was destroyed by the country’s Catholic Church. Their excuse: “It was damaged and it was posing a threat to those who visit the cathedral”. The piece had been commissioned to the artist when efforts where made to reconstruct and restore the church. Also it had been declared part of the national cultural heritage by the appropriate officials.

Some people are of the opinion that since the artwork was located on the church, it belonged to it and therefore they could do whatever they pleased with it. Whatever the excuse anyone tries to give to defend or justify the removal of the piece is offensive. As an artist I feel insulted and as a Salvadorean ashamed. Ignorance and disrespect is all I get from these actions. It saddens me to see this happen, especially since I have always been influenced by the work of the artist. He is one of the few well-known artists in the country and seeing this happen to his work makes me realize that El Salvador is a country that lacks culture. It seems that everything that identifies and makes the country unique is not appreciated by its officials, since they are unable to protect it from those who wish to change it.

The worst part of the whole ordeal is that the mosaic was completely destroyed. There was no attempt to try to salvage any of the pieces, so that maybe it could be relocated to another area or even a museum. The actions the Catholic Church took towards the removal of the piece were wrong and shows the lack of respect that they have towards the cultures they touch.

The mosaic was what made San Salvador’s Cathedral special and different. Now it looks like any other church out there, without character and anything that makes it Salvadorean.

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