Creative Resistances Popular Art and Public Spaces During the Chilean Regime.
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Creative ResistancesPopular Art and Public Spaces During the Chilean RegimeArpillerasThe Arpillera Workshops began in 1974 with a small group of mothers who were seeking information about loved ones.
The mothers contacted the Pro-Paz Committee, an ecumenical organization designed to help victims of the regime. Later renamed the Vicariate of Solidarity.
The workshops were designed to give women a marketable skill, as well as allow them an outlet to document their experiences.
Arpilleras are applique compositions in which pieces of cloth are shaped and sewn on a burlap backing.
Based loosely on folk art made in the 1960s by the women of Isla Negra, bordadoras. Bordados depicted idyllic scenes of rural life with colourful wool thread. The arpilleristas used scraps found around their homes.
Each arpillera was the work and vision of one woman.
At first, arpilleras were about 14x18, but later smaller and larger ones were made as well. Reviewers in the workshops inspected the arpilleras for both quality and content.
Vicariate had few rules, but discouraged explicit depictions of torture (fear of reprisal)Vicariate collected arpilleras from workshops each week and had them shipped abroad
Chilean government considered them traitorous and forbid them to be shown or sold in the country. Arpilleras were smuggled out of the country in diplomatic pouches. Packages and suitcases suspected of containing them were confiscated.
To protect the womentapestries were generally unsigned, though theVicariateturned over to them all the profits they received from selling the works abroad. Often, this money was the only income the women had.
Marjorie Agosin All of the arpilleras have very similar narratives: disappearances, abductions, mothers sitting at a table waiting for an empty seat to be filled. The narrative then is transformed and transposed into the arpillera. The material of the arpillera, it's also a very important component in the telling of the story. It is made out of the remnants of the poor. So you create a story, a narrative, a work of art out of leftover things, remnants. In the very beginning of the years of the dictatorship, the women made arpilleras out of the clothing of their missing ones and told a story that was silence inside the country. --Threads of Life Conference, Brandeis University 2005.
Arpillera from Marjorie Agosins collection: http://www.brandeis.edu/ethics/events/past/tellingthestory/agosin.html
Arpillera from Agosin collection. http://www.brandeis.edu/ethics/events/past/tellingthestory/agosin.htmlThe William Benton Museum of Art Arpillera Collection
A government truck is sprayingcontaminated water on the protestingwomen in this city. This is a political protest.No mas CNI = no more CNI
Protesters. No + Muerte = no more death. Note the woman in the foreground with the shovel, perhaps signifying another dead ormissing person. A police car is standing by.Violeta Morales
Sala de TorturasColectivo de Acciones de ArteFormed by Raul Zurita, Diamela Eltit (Writers) Lotty Rosenfeld, Juan Castillo (Visual Artists) and Fernado Balcells(Sociologist) in 1979 and eventually became known as Escena de Avanzada
Group used public art actions to create semantic ruptures in the artificial rhythms of daily life under the regime. Ay Sudamrica (1981) On July, 12th, 1981, six small airplanes, flying in perfect formation over Santiago, dropped 400,000 flyers discussing the relationship between art and society. This action referenced the bombardment of the House of Government (La Moneda), which marked the fall of Salvador Allende's democratic government and the beginning of Augusto Pinochets dictatorship in Chile. Through this accin sobre arte y poltica, CADA reconstructed the political trauma of 1973, while proposing a new critical political perspective. The flyers contained a message that simultaneously upheld each persons right to a decent standard of living and proposed that the general public was capable of instating an entirely new concept of art - one that could overcome traditional, elite boundaries and become part of public life
Viuda (1985) In September 1985, CADA produced a portrait of a woman whose husband had been killed in a political demonstration against the dictatorship in Chile; they accompanied the image with the following text: Mirar su gesto extremo y popular. Prestar atencin a su viudez y sobreviviencia. Entender a un pueblo. (To look at her gesture, extreme and popular. To pay attention to her widowhood and survival. To understand a people). They published this work in several journals (Anlisis, Cauce, Hoy) and in the newspaper Fortn Mapocho, all critical of Augusto Pinochets dictatorship. This art intervention was meant to celebrate civil protests against the dictatorship; these protests were brutally repressed by the government. Viuda was meant to refer to this political situation, while pointing to women as surviving social subjects who remained in charge of entire families and homes after the disappearance of their husbands. Shown in this video clip are still images of the newspaper articleRal ZuritaBorn in Santiago in 1950, studied engineering and mathematics.
Was arrested by the military following the 1973 coup. Held for 21 days in the ship Maipo.
Published first poems in magazine supplements in 1974, later released Purgatorio in 1978,
Experiences of torture left Zurita with psychological scars which he expressed in his poetry. Diagnosed with epileptic psychosis
In 1975, he burned his face as an act of self effacement, purgation of suffering and solidarity.
Purgatorio explores Zuritas own troubled psyche as well as refers to countrys poltical situation. The purging that takes place is both personal and collective.
Text includes images of Zuritas burned face abstracted to appear a landscape, EEG readings, notes from his psychiatrist and Rorsarch test results.
AnteparasoWritten in 1982 as a follow up to Purgatorio.
Expands poetic perspective from the individual experience of suffering to the collective.
Further develops the utopian impulses of the earlier text.Landscapes in Anteparaso (as well as Purgatorio) manifest human emotion and experience.
Landscape is also seats of memory. (Victims of the regime were often buried in canyons, thrown into volcanoes or the sea). Zurita imagines the landscape remembering mourning and speaking (relation to Jewish and Christian prophetic language)
Also draws on Hispanic lyrical traditions about the relationship between humans and landscape (Nerudas metaphoric and personifying evocations of Chilean landscape)At the same time, Zuritas poetry relies on what Nelly Richard calls Fragments of the discard. Loose compositions of remnants, ruins.
Attempts to compensate for the loss of common language and shared meanings by drawing on what remains (the body, landscape, woundedness, grief).In 1983, Zurita had the poem La vida nueva written over the skies of New York.
CADA wanted to have the poem written over Santiago but was unable to.
Also had the phrase Ni pena, ni miedo bulldozed into the Atacama desert in 1993. Zuritas intention was to express a hopeful message to people as an end to the oppression of the dictatorship.The single verse is 4 KMS long and is only visible from the sky.