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Chile Woke Up

The eye motif emerged as one of the most prominent and powerful tropes in the social uprising. The use of excessive force by the Carabineros de Chile (Chilean police force) led to a series of human rights violations and, in particular, to grave eye injuries caused by hardened rubber bullets aimed at the head. Wounded and missing eyes came to dominate the protest graphics, appearing in graffiti and on public statues, arpilleras (embroidered tapestries), mosaics and street interventions. The total effect rendered a stark critique of police violence while suggesting that Chileans could still “see.”

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