Photo by Alexandra Mosquera Netzkarsch.
Alexandra Mosquera Netzkarsch/Staff Writer
Jaime Choclote, a comic artist and mural painter, has illustrated scenery of the Amazon rainforest and indigenous tribes onto the walls of the Glenn Hubert Library as a part of the library’s renovation project.
Among the characters in Choclote’s mural is Sanange, a fictional super chamán or shaman who protects the rain forest from deforestation, pollution and the vanishing of the identity of the indigenous tribes.
Choclote said the mural consists of two parts of the Amazon: on one side, the night with dolphins, mermaids and a shaman, the latter representing the mystical; on the other, a bird representing the day, plus four people representing the indigenous tribes.
“The Amazon should concern everyone,” Choclote said. He wants people who use the library to look at the mural and think about the meaning it has for them, because it might wake some curiosity about the Amazon.
“It is important for younger generations to learn about environmental issues, and I think comics are a good way of catching their interest,” said Choclote, who is also the coordinator for the Cultural Association Pincel Verde and dedicated to raising awareness about problems faced by the indigenous tribes of the Amazon.
More than 30 years after opening, the Glenn Hubert Library begins changes that will make its services and design reflective of Biscayne Bay Campus’ focus on environmental concerns.
Some of these changes scheduled through 2014 include the renovation of the first floor public service desk, the addition of a new mural behind this desk and a second floor makeover.
Over a million dollars in allocations from the technology fee paid for the renovations, the most central of which will be the Academic Skills and Knowledge Center, where students can expect to find computer lab, laptop bar and reading zone. The AskCenter will serve as the equivalent of the Green Library’s Hub at MMC.
The renovations should end by late summer 2014, according to Cooper. He publicly unveiled the mural on Nov. 7.
Jim Riach, lecturer of Environmental Studies and member of Project Amazonas (a humanitarian and environmental non-profit research organization) established strategies to address health, conservation and development needs in the Peruvian Amazon.
Riach met Choclote at a comic festival in Iquitos, Peru, in 2008. Impressed by Choclote’s talents, Riach said a light bulb lit up when he met the artist and realized they shared goals.
“It is nice to differentiate Jaime’s art from other art in Iquitos,” Riach said.
In one weekend, Choclote finished the draft for the design of the mural, which he then sent for the approval of Cooper and the Hubert Library staff. Riach financed the trip from Iquitos to Miami, and the Kuyayky Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion and development of Andean music and culture, made it possible for Choclote to stay in the Kuyayky founders’ home while painting the mural.
“The mural is a great addition to the library,” Cooper said. “We did pull together as a team to make this happen.”