[expositie] Luz Donoso

Luz Donoso
by Liana Casey based on Laura Stenekes’ analysis

Luz Donoso Puelma was an multidisciplinary artist, teacher, and activist. Donoso was born in Santiago, Chile in 1921, and attended the Escuela de Bellas Artes, University of Chile. In the 1960s, she became a prominent member of a group of mural painters in support of socialist Salvador Allende’s presidential campaign. In 1971, Donoso started teaching at the University of Chile, but in 1973 with the rise of dictator Pinochet, Donoso was removed from her position due to her leftist political beliefs. She then co-founded the Taller de Artes Visuales, an independent artist-run workshop which produced forward-thinking political art. In the late 70s, Donoso made the risky political move of putting her prints on the streets, in order to make them accessible to the public. Throughout the 80s, Donoso continued to keep her art in public spaces, which led to her to describe her works as “dentro y fuera del arte,” or within and outside art. Donoso kept a meticulous archive of her works, including photographs, recordings, and videos, which allows us to have first-hand accounts of the artistic resistance during Pinochet’s dictatorship. 

Donoso’s work was unapologetically political and revolutionary. She worked in many mediums: engravings, murals, installation art, and printmaking. Being a great believer of the social role of art, Donoso went beyond private art spaces and instead used the public domain as an important space for her work. She used accessible graphics in order to directly speak with her audience. Donoso used her urban interventions to condemn the Chilean dictatorship, specifically highlighting the disappearances of people by painting their faces. Due to government censorship, many of her street artworks were quickly taken down by authorities, yet her works continue to live on in the documentation and photographs we have today.