Efren Duran Encalada, an artist from South America, spent several weeks in Port Alberni last summer visiting members of his family.
“I spent valuable time in Port Alberni and Victoria. There’s so much to see and appreciate on this Island,” says the 47-year old native of Chile, who developed his enthusiasm for mosaic almost two decades ago. “My passion for this artistic form of expression began when I felt I needed to overcome the stress of the daily hustle of the big metropolis of Santiago. Soon I realized that this pastime not only made me feel relaxed and fulfilled, but at the end of each design that I had finished became my own “master piece”, to which I had given my time, my dedication and my love.
“I enjoy the fact that there are endless areas to work on with mosaics, from walls, furniture, floors, to ceilings, in other words, ‘the imagination is the limit’. Besides, when working on this type of art, we find a variety of materials that can be used to make the art, ranging from tiles, glass, stone, wood, metal, etc.”
Duran Encalada holds a degree in accounting and has held various managerial positions and is currently the owner/operator of a successful hair salon in downtown Santiago.
He is the second son of a family of four, who grew up with a keen interest in the collection of coins and bills, post cards, key chains, photos of passenger air planes, and stamps.
This became his major pastimes as a youth and allowed him to learn about other countries’ geography, resources and their cities, from an early age.
“By collecting stamps and coins, learning their origin, inspired me to learn more about other lands of the world, their people, their culture, etc. I have been fortunate to have travelled within my own country, as well as other countries throughout the Americas, as well as being able to land in this wonderful country of Canada.”
Speaking about his visit to Canada, he praises the people of Port Alberni and their friendliness, as well as the city’s natural surroundings.
“I am amazed to see how the majority here appeared to be so relaxed and willing to speak to you,” he says.
“I think the natural environment of this area makes people behave differently. Unfortunately, by contrast, when you live in a big city, it feels you are another number surrounded by cement!” Duran Encalada adds.
His major artistic and successful endeavour took place in 2009 when he was invited to be part of a major project of this kind, the production of the largest mosaic made in Chile, located on the facade of the Cathedral of Osorno, a southern city 900 kilometres of Santiago.
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It was designed by acclaimed Chilean painter Juan Echenique (www.juanechenique.com).
“This project, that took almost two years to be completed, made me very proud and, without a doubt, such a feeling will be with me for the rest of my life,” Duran Encalada said.