"Altamira" : what does it mean ?


ALTAMIRA is the name given in Spanish language to some places located at heights that give a scenic view on the region they look down on. Overlooking ("altamira" comes from « alto »/high and « mirar »/to look) allows to see far, and to discover horizons that are invisible from down below. Overlooking allows to see large, hence to understand the landscape in its globality and to locate oneself better in it.


ALTAMIRA is the name of one of the most ancient artistic sanctuaries of Mankind. The cave of Altamira, in northern Spain, shelters a fascinating gallery of wild animals finely painted by hunters-gatherers 15,000 years ago. Discovered by a little girl in the 19th century, this fresco revealed to the modern audience the artist soul of our ancestors, and seem to indicate that aesthetic expression is an original component of homo sapiens, a practice that brings us together around a shared senisbility while connecting us the world that surrounds us.


ALTAMIRA is the name of a small brazilian town where, in 1989, more than six hundred Native Americans, representing the communities of the Amazon rainforest, gathered to meet a delegation of the Brazilian government to contest a dam project on their homeland and to protest against the exploitation of the forest in general. This event, unprecedented by its scale, had a considerable impact in the media, and ended with the victory of the forest's inhabitants after the World Bank decided to give up the program. The meeting of Altamira is a symbol of the necesary reflection on the balance between man and the planet, and the role vernacular societies can play in this study.