World-renowned French artist Invader has just completed his 80th invasion on the island of Potosi, in Bolivia. Potosi is especially famous for being the highest city in the world, just over 4,000 meters above sea level, and for the mines that are still active.
“…it’s location, history and landscapes are breathtaking and it is definitely one of the most intense and amazing invasions I have been able to do so far” Invader Instagram
It is here where Invader installed his 4000th piece on Friday 31st December 2021 to celebrate this huge achievement and the new year with a special ‘Space Invader’ mosaic tile.
“Potosi is one of the highest city in the world. POTI_01 is installed at 4000 meters above the sea level and is the 4000th space invader to land on earth.” Invader instagram
Invader was inspired by the mining, the lamas and the traditional dress on his adventures in Potosi. These were represented via mosaic form.
“El Tio is the lord of the underworld. He is supposed to rule over the mines of Potosi so miners bring offerings such as cigarettes, coca leaves and alcohol to ots statues to get protection before entering the dark and narrow galleries of the mine.” Invader Instagram
“The Cerro Rico (Rich Mountain) of Potosi was one of the largest silver mines in the world. According to legend, it was discovered in 1545 by Diego Huallpa who was looking for his lost lama.” Invader Instagram
The mines in Potosi are still active today and Invader uses this as inspiration.
Invader also pays homage to the rock band ‘The Clash’. Using the ‘London Calling’ front album cover designed by Ray Lowry, which shows Simonon smashing his Fender Precision Bass against the stage (shot by Pennie Smith ). Invader swops the bass for a miner’s pickaxe.
“Dig Dug is a video game character who digs mazes underground… Big up to all the diggers of Potosi” Invader Instagram
“Between the 16th and 18th century, 80% of the world’s silver supply came out of this mine (Cerro Rico) After centuries of exploitation the mountain continues to be mined to this day” Invader Instagram
During the Spanish Colonial era, two billion ounces of silver were extracted from the mountain. Over the same period, about eight million people, African and indigenous slaves, worked the mines and are estimated to have died, earning Cerro Rico the nickname, the Mountain that Eats Men.
Invader checked out the local alcoholic beverage ‘Caiman’, commenting it’s the strongest booze he has ever seen! With an alcoholic percentage of between 93% and 96%, this Bolivian drink named ‘Cocoroco’ is considered as the ‘most alcoholic drink’ in the world. It is made from sugarcane and the locals of Latin American countries mix it with hot water to heat up their bodies during the ice-breaking.
the 17th invasion mosaic was inspired by the Wiphala, the colourful flag of the ethnic group of the Andes.
See below a short film by Invader dedicated to this Invasion …
Invader’s work is modelled on the crude pixellation of the 1970s-1980s 8-bit video games. His distinctive creations can be seen in many highly visible locations in 80 cities around the world and to date invader has installed an impressive 4,056 art pieces!
Photo Credit Invader