Gac-Artigas Foundation is a non profit organization dedicated to further the knowledge and appreciation of art from, but not limited to, Latin America, its main focus been the relationship between art and politics and the vision of culture as an agent for social impact.
Our goal is to promote an understanding of Latin American culture that considers its interrelationship to political and historical movements on a local, continental and global scale. In calling attention to such streams of influence, we aim to foster awareness of the transformative social impact culture can have, not just by responding to past events, but by anticipating and guiding collective understanding of events still to come.
The Personal Journey Behind the Exhibition
The Personal Journey Behind the Exhibition
September 11, 1973. In the copper mine of Chuquicamata, Gustavo rallied his theater group to continue their last tour in Chile. Their final act? A play calling for resistance to the military coup. Libertad-Libertad echoed the cries of young actors, workers, and students. A murmur became a chorus.
September 11, 1973. On the grounds of the University of Puerto Rico, Priscilla marched alongside hundreds of students demanding an end to the bloodshed and respect for the lives of Chilean political prisoners. She could not have known that her future husband was among the prisoners for whom she cried.
On his way to prison in Rancagua, 2000 kilometers from where he started, Gustavo thanked Priscilla before he even met her. Months later, expelled from Chile and under the protection of United Nations, he arrived on rue de Trévise to the first shelter opened in the heart of Paris for Chilean refugees. The shelter, Union de Paris, had an old abandoned theater hall. Gustavo sat in its dusty seats to heal the wounds of his body and soul, and began to dream of his first show in exile: L ‘Amérique latine chante au Chili (Latin America Sings to Chile).
Gamma news agency reporters and photographers came to the shelter in search of the faces that had taken refuge in their cameras during the coup. Beaten into brilliant hues and swollen shapes, the faces had a haunting resemblance to the cubist masterpieces enshrined in Paris’ museums. Reporters also came in search of new faces, faces that, from the silence of a photo, could speak, denounce, and demand.
They found Gustavo in his sanctuary. After hearing his story, they endowed him with the only copy of the diapositives they had taken on September 11, 1973, deputizing Gustavo to bring his theater back to life. As time passed, L ‘Amérique latine chante au Chili began to materialize on the stage.
September 11, 1980. At the Fête de l’Humanité – an annual celebration of social activism in Paris -- Gustavo was conversing with friends near Chile's stand at the International City when he saw Priscilla coming from the Central Stage. There were hundreds of thousands of participants at the festival, but Gustavo could see only Priscilla.
Weeks later she joined his theater group, the Théâtre de la Résistance-Chili, as an actress, (not even Snow White will believe that, and she believed everything…).
For years the troupe toured all of Europe, bringing not only theater but also art and music to every festival, every city, every stage they encountered. Ironically, in being dispossessed of their homeland, they were handed the whole world to dream.
And so this exhibition began to take shape.
After a failed attempt to return to Chile in 1984, these artifacts were kept in boxes that traveled through rivers and over the top of the Cordillera, crossing oceans and continents before eventually finding a resting place in Priscilla's childhood home in Puerto Rico.
They did not see daylight for 34 years until today.
Gustavo Gac-Artigas is a Chilean-American writer, playwright and theatrical director born in Santiago, Chile, but raised in Temuco, as he would immediately add. Since 1995, after living by mounting and disassembling pyramids, operating rooms,temples, and magical tenement rooms in France, the GDR, Bulgaria, Holland, Puerto Rico, Argentina, Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Colombia, Switzerland, Denmark, Tunisia, Belgium, and various other countries that fragile memory stores inoblivion, he resides in New Jersey, United States.
“Chile? Chile in my heart, as Pablo would say.”
He is a Correspondent Member of the North American Academy of the Spanish Language (Academia Norteamericana de la Lengua Española-ANLE).
The personal journey behind MEMORIAS is the backbone of his latest novel, Y todos éramos actores, un siglo de luz y sombra, (SPA) And All of Us Were Actors, a Century of Light and Shadow, (ENG) translated by Andrea G. Labinger. (paperback, digital). The book obtained second place (the first place went to In the Midst of Winter by Isabel Allende) for best fiction book in translation Spanish to English at the International Latino Book Award, 2018.
Priscilla Gac-Artigas is a Fulbright Scholar, full professor of Latin American Literature at Monmouth University in NJ. She is a Correspondent Member of the North American Academy of the Spanish Language (Academia Norteamericana de la Lengua Española-ANLE).
Together with Gustavo they have authored and edited several college textbooks for the teaching of Spanish, French and Latin American literature, culture and civilization.