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"The Araucaria Project: my journey to discover the sacred"
by Fiorella Angelini

"The Araucaria Project: my journey to discover the sacred'' is a research-based film about the presence of the Chilean native tree “Araucaria araucana” or “Monkey Puzzle tree” in the UK. The video essay blends a documentary and poetic style, to investigate the origin of the name in English and its relationship with its autochthonous name. Hence, it explores the idea of identification through landscape and Botanics. It relies on subjects such as migration, post colonialism, identity, and the sacredness of the tree. 

How important is cultural natural heritage for the preservation of endangered species? Can we identify ourselves with nature? In the case of transplanting species, can we talk about decolonization through plants? 

To answer these and more questions, the artist interviewed several experts from the UK and Chile to understand the journey of the tree and herself. Some of the collaborators are from Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew; Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh RBGE; The Royal Horticultural society; UCL; Fundación Mar Adentro (Chile); Universidad de La Frontera (Chile); the Mapuche Community in Curarrehue (Chile), among others. The work was part of the artist's final project to graduate from the MFA and was exhibited along with other photographic pieces from 5-17 July 2021 at The Slade School of Art (UCL) in London.

The project was possible thanks to the support of The Sarabande Emerging Artist Award (2021) by the Sarabande Foundation (UK); ANID Becas Chile Magíster en el Extranjero (Chile) and The Slade School of Art, UCL (UK).

The interviewees that appear in the video are Álvaro Escobar, from Fundación Mar Adentro (Chile); Dr. Ruth Siddall, from University College of London (UK); David Geyde (UK), author of “Araucaria the Monkey Puzzle”; Francisco Pinedo (Chile); Joanna Wenham, from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (UK); Martin Gardner, from the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh RBGE (UK); Maya Errazuriz, from Fundación Mar Adentro (Chile); Rubén Carrillo, from Universidad de La Frontera (Chile); Simón Loncopán, spokesperson from Comunidad Mapuche de Curarrehue (Chile).

As part of the project, all the research including the transcription of the interviews, links of interests, and the written essay will be hosted online soon.

Stay tuned for screening dates  in her Instagram or her website

Fiorella Angelini (1990) is a Chilean artist based in London. She just graduated from the MFA Master in Fine Art Media, at The Slade School of Art (University College of London), as a beneficiary of “Becas Chile” from the Chilean Government. In 2012 she achieved a Bachelor in Fine Art (BFA) and in 2013 a Pedagogy Degree at Universidad Finis Terrae (CL). She has exhibited in South America, Europe, and Asia. Among her latest exhibitions are: “Slade Summer Shows 2021” at Slade School of Art (UK); "Form" at CICA Museum (KR); "London Grads Now" at Saatchi Gallery (UK); "RCA & Slade Degree Show" at Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery (UK); "Imagino el mar" solo show Sala Arte CCU (CL); "Poetry Festival" at NCLA Centre Literary Arts (UK).

Angelini’s work spans installation, photography and video to explore the issues that affect nature, territory, and memory. As an artist, she’s interested in pushing the boundaries of video and analogue photography, as a component within installation and sculptural pieces. Metals, plastics and natural fibres are the materials she uses to transform the photographs into volumetric elements. While fiction and documentary are some of the approaches she uses for video making. The work relies on the South American terrain and how (post) colonialism marks the territory and explores the idea of belonging as a fleeting identification with the landscape.

Information about the Film:

"The Araucaria Project: my journey to discover the sacred"
A film by Fiorella Angelini
London, UK
July 2021

Director, Script, and Editor:
Fiorella Angelini
Patricio Alfaro (Chile)
Yuli Serfaty (UK)
Poem narrator: 
Izzy Nakhla 
Musicalization (and Monkey 1): 
Marco Arias 
Script consultant: 
Gonzalo Maza
Editing consultant:
Patricio Alfaro
Andrea Lathrop
Documentation images: 
RHS Lindley Library
Research documentation: 
The Royal Horticultural Society RHS
The Anglo Chilean Society

Araucaria Project Still _Agua_ Fiorella Angelini.jpg
Araucaria Project Still _Pehuen_ low.jpg
Araucaria Project.00_34_57_21.Still028.jpg
Araucaria Project B_ground floor_img_0352 copy.jpg

Images from both the video and the exhibition "Slade Summer Show 2021" where it was presented for the first time as part of Fiorella's Degree show to qualify for the Master at University College London.

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