We did and agreement to stay alive in the encounter “Political, artistic, sporting, and cultural International Congress of Women who Fight”, called by the Zapatista Army of National Liberation in Mexico, (EZLN) where around 9000 women from all over the world engaged in the defence of women’s rights and the protection of mother earth. In that context I felt more loved and safe than in 12 years living “safely” in the settlements of the Geneva Headquarters of the International Organizations. Reasons I will developed further on. I was invited by Natalia Arcos from Casa GIAP, an art residency based in San Cristóbal de la Casas, that she manages with her companion Alessandro Zagato to do research on the esthetics of political art and autonomy. I join her group to participate in this historical first encounter.
After following by heart what I could of the hundreds of seminars proposed, I went to a workshop on feminist internet bringing awareness on how internet has become a shopping mall, how we are giving to multinationals leaded by white privileged men, our information and how this companies extract wealth from our information. They exposed how instagram and Facebook do censorship and take political decisions, as well as promote individualistic narrations to exacerbate the celebrity culture, competition and the idea of becoming someone famous as the only way to have a life. They are called: dominemoslatechnologia.org.
There I heard the compañeras from Brazil, Landless Movement in Brazil, (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Landless_Workers%27_Movement) breaking the silence of the situation of women in the agroindustry of the northeast of Brazil. Where most of the pineapples and tropical fruits exported in to the US and European markets, are leaving their drinking water full of chemicals, due to monoculture and the excessive use of pesticides. They explained how the women of this communities are facing on their own the premature illnesses, the lack of health facilities and the poisoning of the land.
I also listen to the collective Subversiones, an autonomous publishing house presenting the book “Nosotras”, a jewel at really affordable prices, where the testimonies of other women, their struggles and victories to recover their bodies, territories, memories and dignity gave me and my daughters useful tools. https://subversiones.org
While in the encounter, I proposed the 9th of March 2018 to the organizers of this event: the women from the EZLN to do an art demonstration and art selling of an engraving my father Eugenio Cornejo (1940, Santiago de Chile-2002, Puebla, Mexico) did as a refugee in socialist Bulgaria in 1977. The authorities of the autonomous organization granted me permission in 15 minutes and offered me a piece of cardboard and a public space to sell my engravings. I became part of the art market for the first time in my life in an autonomous community. I have being trying to find a comercial gallery for my work for 12 years in the Geneva area, but my work doesn’t seems to fit the categories the contemporary art market requires. Often I got told “your art is not contemporary”, as if I was coming from an other time. But in this encounter I found my place in 15 minutes and joined the grand majority of women of this planet, who’s only heritage is the memory of the violence of colonialism dispossesing them from all earthly wealth and human rights dignity and leaving them only with the testimonies of how they grandfathers, men, fathers, son’s…received the brutality of capitalism. Eugenio Cornejo, my father, was an art teacher and a victim of prison and torture in the dictatorship of Pinochet (Comisión Nacional sobre Prisión Política y Tortura, 2005), an unrecognized refugee who died prematurely of alcoholism, without being able to go back to his country and without receiving any reparation in democracy from the Chilean State. He represents one of the hundreds of thousands of people killed, tortured or imprisoned during the dirty wars in Latin America. So yes I am coming from an other time, the time of the zone of non being as the decolonial theory will define. Where the lack of basic human rights leaves us exposed to a slow progress, full of obstacles called: injustice. But also full of possibilities to find sisters, traveling towards transmodernity. The pluri-modernities in which we are all contemporary because we are. There I found enthusiastic collectors of the engraving of my father and I had enough money to buy the art of the other local artist.
And where are we? In the dream, the daydream or the nightmare? when we come to Europe we are not enough contemporary for the agendas of the so called avant-garde, because in the nightmare there is always a wall, a labyrinth for those who come from the dream of an other world were there is an us. And the daydream I leave it to those who live in the nightmare and don’t even see the wall or the labyrinth. The zapatista women and encounter gave me all the hope I needed: I was in the dream and I wasn’t sleeping. They give us a place to sleep, 100% organic food produced in their communities and a pedagogy that the whole planet needs urgently. Something I had never seeing happening in the UN. They give us all of that but with one condition: to do an agreement with them to stay alive and fight without fear for our right to live. The best deal I had ever seeing in contemporary times.
Special thanks to Marcela San Pedro, Maya Kasterine, Katya Kasterine, Mariana Rodriguez, Amanda Schmeltz, Itala Schmeltz, Natalia Arcos, Mayan Garzon, Karin Brunett, Karina Pampo, Val Zapy, Charlotte Saenz, Giulia Cilla, Stephanie Prizreni, Beatriz Canfield, Hayin-Ray Antileo, Nora Gatica, Lorena Carrillo, Blanca del Razo, Bianca Kludt y Claudia Cortès