18 Pesos

Silver wire, 18 Chilean Pesos




When the spaniards invaded latinamerica and imposed the european culture it wasn't necessarily always through violence but definitely often out of touch with the reality people were living in the region at the time. The colonizers traded goods like cattle and furs for silver coins, which the indigenous west of the Andes had not much use for. In fact, so little, that they took the silver coins and repurposed them to the precious metal's original intention: Jewellery. Where once Silver was used to craft ornaments to display exclusivity of a wealthy lifestyle in forms of wearables or valuable objects to display, later it was portioned and coined for a more practical use in daily trading.


When the Mapuche were presented with the coins, they transformed them back to their original purpose, a luxury item to wear on body to display a higher value of an individual in society. I find the idea intriguing that ornamental silver was transformed into coins for easier handling and then re-inserted into fashion by the indigenous that found no other value to the material than what it was initially intended for.


The chain shown here is apropriating this aproach. Made up of 18 chilean Pesos, at the time of writing this, the value of 1 CLP corresponds to 0,0011 EUR. The monetary value of all the coins making up the chain is therefor 0,020 EUR, or 2 cents. You can buy this in the shop for a much higher price and participate in cultural appropriation by a European, apropriating Chilean culture, apropriating Mapuche culture. All proceedings will be reversed into the southern Chile economy.