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Cultural mission from San Diego heads to Peru

December 7, 2012

By Pablo Jaime Sáinz

Chicano Park muralist Mario Torero and filmmaker Horacio Jones

When Mario Torero was growing up in Peru, he was always told not to get involved in any way with the Indians of the region. In fact, all throughout his childhood, Torero was told Indians were dirty, and bad. He would never go near Indians of the Peruvian Andes.

“It had never entered my mind to go there while I lived in Lima,” he said.

It wasn’t until Torero and his family moved to San Diego in 1960, at the age of 12, that his attitude towards Indigenous peoples began to change.

“My involvement in the Chicano cultural revolution from the 70’s on had raised in me the pride of a magnificent ancestral history,” said Torero, one of San Diego’s most celebrated artists.

Now, more than 50 years after Torero moved to the United States, he is returning to his native land to reclaim his roots, and to promote artistic freedom and involvement among Indigenous people in Peru.

Torero, along with San Diego filmmaker Horacio Jones, is filming a documentary titled “The Condor and The Eagle,” which celebrates the cultural exchange between North and South American Indigenous artistic traditions. Torero, Jones, and others, are heading for Peru on Dec. 16, to embark in a cultural mission that aims to use street art and murals to engage Peruvian neighborhoods into a social discourse by having residents be involved in mural projects.

The cultural mission will include a spiritual ceremony led by Mario Torero while at Machu Picchu, to celebrate the earth’s spiritual awakening, foretold by the Mayans anticipated to happen on December 21, 2012.

To help cover the expenses of the trip, and to complete the documentary, there will be a fundraising event titled “Mysticism and Spirituality,” on Friday, Dec. 14, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., at the Centro Cultural de la Raza, in Balboa Park. The art exhibit and auction will raise funds not only for the cultural mission to Peru, but also for El Centro, Torero said.

The Chicano Park muralist said that the Peruvian government is welcoming the mission. Also, San Diego Mayor Bob Filner has pledged to also get involved.

The filmmaker Horacio Jones said that the documentary, titled “The Condor and The Eagle,” takes symbols from North and South American traditions.

“There was a lot we could do with that title” stated Jones.

The filmmaker and artists brainstormed about the focus of this cultural mission.

“We whittled it down to a concept people can grasp” Horacio said. “Creating a concept people can grasp and raising funds are the main challenges.”

Currently, Torero said the artists are producing the documentary with their own money.

“We’re financing everything ourselves,” he said. “Producing a film takes thousands of dollars.”

The project is using indigo. com as part of the online fundraising strategy and they even have a sponsorship reward of going with the crew and participate in the adventure. You can be part of the 19 day mission for a sponsorship of $5000; this includes airfare, boarding and food. You can learn more by going to indiegogo.com/CondorEagle.

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