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Catalog Data

Artist:
Cecilia Vicuña, born 1948  Search this
Sitter:
Cecilia Vicuña, born 1948  Search this
Medium:
Single-channel video (color, sound)
Dimensions:
Duration: 7:43 min.
Type:
Time-Based Media
Place:
Chile
Date:
2015
Exhibition Label:
Born Santiago de Chile
In Semiya (Seed Song), artist, poet, and activist Cecilia Vicuña weaves together Indigenous knowledge, histories of environmental destruction and connection, and themes of exile and ephemerality. Although this video was shot in the area of Chile where Vicuña’s family resides, the artist was exiled in 1973 when a military coup overthrew the government of democratically elected Chilean President Salvador Allende.
Here, Vicuña gently cradles native seeds threatened by industrial farming. The soundscape vacillates between the sonic textures of the natural world and Vicuña chanting in an invented language, drawn from a combination of Andean languages, in what the artist calls the “high Andean pitch of her maternal line.” The red thread seen at the beginning of the work references the quipu, an Indigenous Andean form of record-keeping and communication. “My work dwells in the not yet, the future potential of the unformed,” Vicuña writes, “where sound, weaving, and language interact to create new meanings.”
Nacida en Santiago de Chile
En Semiya (Seed Song), la artista, poeta y activista Cecilia Vicuña entreteje saberes indígenas, historias de destrucción y comunión con el ambiente y temas del exilio y lo efímero. Aunque este video se grabó en el área de Chile donde vive la familia de Vicuña, ella se exilió en 1973, cuando el presidente Salvador Allende, electo democráticamente, fue derrocado por un golpe militar.
Aquí Vicuña sostiene con amor distintas semillas nativas en peligro de extinción a causa de la agricultura industrial. El audio fluctúa entre las texturas sonoras del mundo natural y los cantos de Vicuña en un lenguaje inventado a partir de lenguas andinas en lo que la artista llama el “registro alto de su linaje materno”. El hilo rojo que vemos al comienzo alude al quipu, un antiguo sistema andino de registro, contabilidad y comunicación. “Mi obra habita en el ‘todavía no’, el potencial futuro de lo que no se ha formado”, escribe Vicuña, “donde el sonido, el tejido y el lenguaje interactúan para crear nuevos significados”.
Topic:
Costume\Headgear\Hat  Search this
Exterior  Search this
Nature & Environment\Plant  Search this
Nature & Environment\Plant\Tree  Search this
Nature & Environment\Plant\Flower  Search this
Nature & Environment\Water\Stream  Search this
Nature & Environment\Bone  Search this
Nature & Environment\Mountain  Search this
Cecilia Vicuña: Visual Arts\Artist  Search this
Cecilia Vicuña: Female  Search this
Cecilia Vicuña: Visual Arts Award  Search this
Portrait  Search this
Credit Line:
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; museum purchase through the Smithsonian Latino Initiatives Pool, administered by the Smithsonian Latino Center
Object number:
NPG.2022.121
Restrictions & Rights:
Usage conditions apply
Copyright:
© 2015 Cecilia Vicuña
See more items in:
National Portrait Gallery Collection
Exhibition:
20th Century Americans: 2000 to Present
On View:
NPG, South Gallery 341
Data Source:
National Portrait Gallery
GUID:
http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/sm47249b7bc-41f4-4c11-9551-6a0250ab9e2a
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:npg_NPG.2022.121