1989 / The Conquest of America

Location: The Chilean Commission on Human Rights, Santiago, Chile.

Date: October 12, 1982.

Event: Día de la raza (Indigenous People’s Day)

Documentation: Paz Errázuriz

Other People/Associations: Raquel Olea, Rita Ferrer, Diamela Eltit

Institution: Comisión Chilena de Derechos Humanos

Description: On October 12, 1989, the date on which “Día de la raza” is commemorated in Latin American countries to honor the victims of Spanish colonialism, the Yeguas del Apocalipsis made an intervention in the Chilean Commission on Human Rights, titled “The Conquest of America.” Pedro Lemebel and Francisco Casas, with black pants and nude torsos (to which they had attached personal stereos), and with bare feet, danced a cueca over a map of South America, which had been covered in broken glass from Coca-Cola bottles. Drawing a parallel between the colonial process of “The Conquest” and the support that North American imperialism had provided to Latin American military governments, the object of the performance was to denounce the massacres executed by the various dictatorships of the Southern Cone in their respective territories, alluding especially to the situation of Chile under military dictatorship. The Yeguas de Apocalipsis were citing the “cueca sola,” a symbolic appropriation of the national dance by the mothers and daughters of the detained and disappeared. By dancing alone, these women represented the absence of their male family members.