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Francisco Huichaqueo

Venue: Gropius Bau

Francisco Huichaqueo

Born 1977 in Valdivia, CL – lives and works in Concepción, CL

Every Mapuche knows another—a relative, a friend or acquaintance—who is or has been a political prisoner. In retaliation for the defense of their territories against deforestation and other forms of extractivism, the Chilean state continues to prosecute Mapuche activists under a counter-terrorism legislation introduced by the military dictatorship. Chile, where Mapuche filmmaker Francisco Huichaqueo was born, embraces a racialized concept of citizenry, waging a covert and overt war on the Mapuche people. Besieged physically, the Mapuche are nonetheless able to travel spiritually, a process the Mapudungun language calls perimontun (vision or apparition). Cinema grafts itself easily onto the Mapuche ability to inhabit the tangible and the intangible, the reel operating as a portal to the political and spiritual dimensions of the Mapuche world.

For the project Wenu Pelon. Kuifi ül [Ancient Sound. Portal of Light, 2015/20], all creative decisions Huichaqueo made via lucid dreaming, aided by a Machi or spiritual leader, and each film included corresponds to a pewma, or dream. Wenu Pelon is the first glimpse of light at dawn—the most important moment of the Wiñol tripantü, the Mapuche New Year. The sacred blue of dawn is also the color of the Mapuche war flag, used to mark contested territories. Wenu Pelon is an invocation, a spiritual call to liberate those under colonial incarceration—including the looted Mapuche objects being held in museum vaults around the world.

Filmed on the first day of Wiñol tripantü, Kuifi ül [Ancient Sound, 2020] is inhabited by the song of the trutruka, a wind instrument that resonates in the hills and throughout the territory for several days during the ceremony. Within the installation, the sound aims to awaken Mapuche objects—a kultrün, a pifüllka, a metawe—normally in the custody of a German museum, removed from the hands that created them. For Huichaqueo, this temporary encounter between his people’s belongings and their ancient song constitutes a spiritual preparation for their inevitable return to their home, among their people.

Ana Teixeira Pinto/María Berríos

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