Past Exhibitions > Chile: Dignidad, 1973-2023

Maria Veronica San Martin
Maria Veronica San Martin

About the exhibition: Chilean-born, New York-based artist María Verónica San Martín offers a retelling through performance, book art, and engravings of politically crucial moments of recent Chilean history and their interconnectedness with US experience. As we approach the 50th anniversary of the coup d’état against Chile’s democratically elected socialist president Salvador Allende, this exhibition focuses on San Martín’s motif of Dignidad as a connector of different elements of Chilean and US history across time and space, denouncing past abuses and crying out for social justice.

These elements include the coup on September 11, 1973—actively supported by the CIA—as well as other events before and afterward. One is the establishment in 1961 of Colonia Dignidad, an autarchic, fascist compound in southern Chile that aided in the torture and repression of leftist dissidents throughout the seventies and eighties. Meanwhile, in a finely made series of artist’s books, San Martín calls out for the dignity of the people tortured and disappeared by the dictatorship. The exhibit finishes with San Martín’s more recent etchings representing Chile’s social upheaval in 2019, in which protesters against neoliberal scarcity, state-sponsored racism, and police violence rechristened one of Santiago’s central squares as Plaza Dignidad.

The multidisciplinary exhibit—San Martín’s third solo exhibit in New York City—comprises eighteen pieces, including one sculpture, four artist’s books, two video screens showing a series of performances by the artist, and eleven engravings. The pieces are organized chronologically to trace the development of the concept of “Dignidad” over the past sixty years in Chile. There is a series of explanatory texts that contextualize the works within Chile’s history and culture.

These activities will provide an opportunity for three different academic departments at Fordham - Modern Languages and Literatures, Communication and Media Studies, and Visual Arts - to collaborate in an effort to position art, cinema, and literature as ways of working through the trauma of the coup and keeping the memory of the dictatorship's victims alive.

At the opening reception on September 7, San Martín will introduce her work and do a mini-performance.

The exhibit is part of Chile 1973/2023, a series of programs organized by Fordham, Columbia, Princeton, and New York Universities to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Chile’s military coup through art shows, film screenings, and literary events.

About the artist: María Verónica San Martín (b. 1981) is a Chilean, New York-based multidisciplinary artist and educator who explores the impacts of history, memory, and trauma through archives, artist books, installation, sculpture, and performance. She was a fellow at the Whitney Museum’s Independent Study Program and holds an MA from The Corcoran School of Art and Design, George Washington University, Washington DC. She has exhibited nationally and internationally at BRIC Arts Media, Brooklyn, NY; Artists Space, the New York Immigrant Artist Biennial, the Queens Museum and Rockefeller Center, all in New York City; at Trinity College, in CT; at the Print Center in Philadelphia, PA; and at the Chilean National Archive, Galería NAC, and Galería Animal in Santiago and at the Museum Meermanno, The Hague, Netherlands. Her work is held in more than 60 collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN; the Watkinson Library, CT; the Museum of Memory and Human Rights, Santiago, Chile; and the Centre Pompidou, Paris, France. María is currently working on a commission for NMWA’s Holding Ground: Artists’ Books for the National Museum of Women in the Arts project while preparing her first solo exhibition in Canada at The Goethe-Institute in October. She teaches at Parsons, The New School, NY; the Center for Book Arts, NY; Penland School of Craft, NC; The University of Miami, OH, and is part of the education program of Booklyn Art as well as an artist and board member.

Exhibition curated by Carl Fischer, Professor and Chair, Department of Modern Languages and Literatures, Fordham University

For more information contact:
Carl Fischer:, 718 817 2632

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