In this interview, Claudia Bernardi discusses her artistic trajectory. In particular, she discusses her work with unacompannied, undocumented, Central American minors, currently detained in maximum security facilities in the United States, and shares their collaborative mural projects along with their stories.
Claudia Bernardi is an internationally known artist who works in the fields of art, human rights and social justice. Over the past two decades, she has focused her art praxis in developing and facilitating community and collaborative art projects working with and in collaboration with communities that have suffered state terror, violence, forced exiles and who are victims of human rights violations.
Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Bernardi lived through the Argentine military junta that ruled the country from 1976 to 1983. As a result of this system of repression over 30,000 Argentine citizens disappeared. The Desaparecidos are the victims of the so-called “Dirty War”. She left Argentina in 1979. In 1984, a forensic anthropology team was established in Argentina to supply evidence of violations of human rights carried out against civilian populations. Bernardi participated, as mapmaker, and collaborated with the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team in exhumations of mass graves in El Salvador, Guatemala, Argentina, and Ethiopia. Emerging from this experience, Bernardi recognized that art could be used to educate, elucidate, and articulate the communal memories of survivors of human rights atrocities.
Bernardi is the founder and director of the School of Art and Open Studio of Perquin El Salvador, serving children, youth, adults and the elderly. The approach of this unprecedented art, education and human rights initiative is rooted in the partnership created between art, artists and local institutions and NGOs. The art projects are designed and created in response to the demands, hopes and desires of the members of the community.
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