This is a past event.

Heading North: Journey to the Atacama Desert 

When: Sept. 7-Nov. 30 2007

Widely known as the most arid place on Earth, the fifteen-million-year-old Atacama Desert in the north of Chile is home to more than a million people - most of them living on the coast or around the region's copper mines. Six hundred miles long from north to south, with the Pacific to the west and the Andes to the east, the high, stark plateau is dotted with salt basins, extinct volcanoes, flamingos, llamas, lonely indigenous villages, and, sadly, the remnants of internment camps left over from the Pinochet dictatorship, when students, leftists, and other undesirables "disappeared."

Berkeley photographer Thea Bellos understands the turbulent history of "El Norte Grande" as well as its breathtaking natural beauty. Her solo photography show, Heading North, pays tribute to the Atacama and to the spirit of the new Chile. Now on the walls of Berkeley's La Peña Cultural Center, her exhibition is part of the center's celebration of Chilean independence and the memory of President Salvador Allende, assassinated during the military coup of 1973. Go to for a complete schedule of events, and to for more images. The photo show runs through November.

— Kelly Vance


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