In search of Santiago

My grandfather was always somewhat of a mystery to me. Conversations with him were often so steeped in philosophy that the real and surreal would merge and when trying to remember what was said, I’d come away with an image or idea more than actual words. That was the magic of Santiago ‘Jimmy’ Bell.

Now that I’ve begun to study him from a research perspective I realise how little I know about the artist himself. From snippets of history passed down through conversations with my mother and grandmother I’ve learned the vague details about his life but these are not sufficient enough to tell me exactly who Santiago was and the details of the life that so influenced both his artistic and social work.

I was horrified to discover upon my ruminations in the World Wide Web, that his memory is either non existent or whitewashed. When consulting Wikipedia for the intendentes de Ñuble ( a government post held by my grandfather in 1970-2) there was no record of him at all. Most disturbingly, the list began from 1973 onwards. I felt a need to wrestle with this historical inaccuracy but alas. Even the Chile National Library records apparently held no such information. So in search of Santiago I go…


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