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Chilenas in the Diaspora: Culture, Resistance, and Hope


27 April 2018, 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Price Center West, Thurgood Marshall Room, UC San Diego


During the military dictatorship of Chile (1973-90), over one million Chileans fled the country to escape political repression and economic crises. 

This event centers Chilean women who came to the United States during this time. 

Liliana Wilson was born in Valparaíso and migrated to the United States in 1977. Her early paintings sought to process the trauma she had witnessed in Chile, particularly the dramatic political changes and human rights violations initiated by the dictatorship. In addition, the images in this presentation will represent immigrants and refugees transitioning into unknown worlds. Occupying liminal spaces, they are portrayed en un viaje, a journey of integration toward wholeness and arriving in new contextual spaces they can call home. A book on her work called Ofrenda was published by Texas A & M Press in 2015. Edited by Norma Cantu, it is a collection of writings on Liliana’s work by Gloria Anzaldua and others. 

Cecilia Ubilla came to California in 1974, where she played a role in the transnational solidarity movement that sought to end the dictatorship in Chile. Her activism involved receiving, exhibiting, and selling arpilleras, pieces of patchwork tapestry created by women living under dictatorship in Chile. Cecilia sent the money back to the arpilleristas, funds that they used to help locate loved ones disappeared by the military. Cecilia will exhibit arpilleras and discuss her important work as a U.S.-based chilena in the solidarity movement.

This event is co-sponsored by the Raza Graduate Student Association, The Institute of the Arts and Humanities, and Chicana/o Latina/o Arts and Humanities, the Latin American Studies program, the Visual Arts Department, the Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies, and the Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, and is a part of the university’s celebration of Cesar Chavez.