Brigada Ramona Parra

Chile (1979, mural)
Dante Building

Brigada Ramona Parra – Chili (1979, muurschildering)

Many former students inquire during campus walks where that brightly colored artwork has gone on the wall of Koopmans Building. That work depicted the repression in Chile after General Pinochet's coup in 1973. If you looked closely, you could also see a few Tilburg elements: the towers of the Heikese Church and the Hasselt Chapel, and a factory facade.

Created in 1979 by the Chilean "painting brigade" Ramona Parra, together with staff and students, the work was an expression of solidarity with "the oppressed Chilean people. These were the politicized times, when the Hogeschool restricted contacts with South Africa because of apartheid and established partnerships with universities in South America and Eastern Europe. The socially committed Professor of Criminal Law and Immigration Law, Anton van Kalmthout, called the mural "a reflection of universal idealism" in 1993.

The painter's brigade was named after Ramona Parra, a young woman who died in a demonstration in Santiago de Chile in 1940. The brigade initially created committed murals in Chile and continued that tradition in the Netherlands, where several cities (including Amsterdam and Purmerend) provided walls to carry the political message of Chilean refugees.

Much of the work was lost, and the mural on campus did not stand the test of time either. In 2007, the artwork was removed because of its deplorable condition, gnawed as it was by vermin. The university still has another work by the brigade. It was located in the hall of the former theological faculty and has now found a place in Dante Building, in the international environment of the University College.



More about history and academic heritage

The Tilburg University academic heritage is a very diverse set of archives, visual materials, collections, devices, recorded stories, et cetera that relate to the history of the university.