Promises to the Disappeared: Art in the Wake of Chile’s 9-11BY Dan Margolis, October 5, 2009
This past month the United States solemnly commemorated the eighth anniversary of 9/11/01. While life in the U.S. has largely returned to normal in the interceding years (though, life is gone for the nearly 3,000 who perished, and will never again be truly “normal” for their families), the horror and legacy of 9/11 has lingered and festered deep in the collective memory.
Much of the way any nation deals with tragedy is through its culture: music, literature, film, and other forms of art. But it has only been eight years since 9/11/01, a relatively short time; artists in the U.S. have really only just started dealing with this national catastrophe.
Perhaps the body of work from artists in another country in the Americas, Chile, can offer further perspective on how traumatic and pivotal events are approached by those who have been directly affected by them. On another September 11, that of 1973, Chile’s Popular Unity (UP, for its Spanish initials) coalition government was overthrown by a CIA-backed military coup d’état resulting in the death of President Salvador Allende and the beginning of the brutal dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet.