The 93rd birthday of Violeta Parra – described as the most important Chilean artist in the 20th Century – was celebrated this week. Parra is the only Chilean artist to appear in the permanent exhibition at The Louvre, which opened its doors to her wire sculptures, paintings, textiles and tapestries in 1964, shortly before her death in 1967.
In Santiago on Monday, a homage was held in a packed concert hall in the Nescafe Arts Theatre with members of Parra’s family present, with musical performances and extracts from the documentary Viola Chilensis, original footage, music, poetry and visual works.
The record label Oveja Negra (Black Sheep) celebrated Parra’s work in July by producing 13 albums and two DVDs which contained previously unseen material.
On Tuesday, Radio Uno, a radio station which specialises in Chilean music, played two hours of music and archived materials, and the entire set of lost tapes from Parra’s Oveja Negra collection, Las Ultimas Composiciones (The Last Compositions). Pascuala Ilabaca, a young Porteño musician who appeared in Vincent Moon’s pioneering video Temporary Valparíso, finished off the day by performing covers of the album.
Valparaíso saw a different slant on Parra’s life as contemporary music and images were blended with tributes to Violeta Parra and her legacy, at a gathering organised by the National Council for Culture’s Schools of Rock in the Plaza Aníbal Pinto.
“She was a complete artist,” said Nicole Gonzalez, head of programmes at the Schools of Rock, referring to Parra’s extraordinary dexterity across every artistic medium. “She’s a part of every Chilean’s life. We all have a reason to celebrate her: she was a pioneer who began so many things in Chile, and the number of people who remember her are testimony to that which she left,” said Gonzalez.
The video of Temporary Valparaíso, which since being filmed in 2009 has fanned the flames of Chilean grassroots music, was also screened at the gathering.
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