Students Staff

13 March 2012

Leading Chilean artist to perform at firstsite

Internationally renowned Chilean born artist Cecilia Vicuña will be performing at firstsite in Colchester to mark the opening of Unravelling Threads, the new exhibition at the University Space organised by the Essex Collection of Art from Latin America (ESCALA).

Cecilia will perform Fiber of Prayer/Fiber of Gold in the firstsite auditorium from 3 to 4pm on Sunday 18 March. The free performance will explore the relationship between word and thread, while revisiting the artist’s exile in London after the military coup in Chile in 1973. Afterwards there will be a chance to ask Cecilia questions about her life and work.

The poet and artist has performed and exhibited her work across Europe, Latin America and the United States over the past five decades. She is also a political activist and founding member of Artists for Democracy.

ESCALA director Joanne Harwood said: “Cecilia is a world renowned artist and we are proud she will be coming to firstsite to mark the opening of Unravelling Threads. Her performance reflects many of the themes investigated by the exhibition.”

The starting point for Unravelling Threads was the participation of Cecilia at the major conference ‘Textiles, Techne, and Power in the Andes’, at Birkbeck College, University of London from Thursday 15 March to Saturday 17 March 2012.

On Friday 16 March, Cecilia is taking part in a roundtable discussion at the conference which will also feature ESCALA artist Warmi and will be chaired by Professor Valerie Fraser from Art History at Essex, a leading expert in Latin American art. The conference is linked to the Arts and Humanities Research Council-funded project Weaving Communities of Practice between Birkbeck and the Instituto de Lengua y Cultura Aymara (ILCA) in La Paz, Bolivia.

ESCALA was keen to share Cecilia’s work with a wider UK audience so invited her to perform at firstsite to coincide with Unravelling Threads.

The exhibition explores aspects of textiles from the Andean region of South America and trying to unravel their possible relationship to ESCALA artworks.

The artists featured are Esteban Álvarez, Aruma-Sandra De Berduccy, Felipe Ehrenberg, María Ezcurra, León Ferrari, Alex Flemming, Anna Maria Maiolino, f. marquespenteado, César Paternosto, Osvaldo Viteri, and Warmi. The artwork by Aruma-Sandra De Berduccy is a new acquisition by ESCALA.

The curator of Unravelling Threads Valeria Paz Moscoso was Head of the Museum Section and Curator of Exhibitions at the National Museum of Art in La Paz and is now studying for a PhD at the University of Essex.

Other events organised to coincide with the exhibition include:

Tactile Textiles – Saturday 17 March from 11am to 1pm and 2pm to 5pm, a free hands-on workshop for all the family where you will be able to learn about Andean textiles and design your own textile pattern.

Valeria Paz Moscoso talk – Wednesday 21 March, a discussion about the ideas and artworks featured in Unravelling Threads.

The free exhibition continues until 17 June.

The performance by Cecilia Vicuña is free but those wanting to attend should book in advance. Please contact firstsite at or +44 (0)1206 577067.


Note to Editors
For more information contact the University of Essex Communications Office on 01206 874377.

For images of artworks in Unravelling Threads
Please contact Sarah Demelo at or 00 44 (0)1206 874438

ESCALA Guest Curator, Valeria Paz Moscoso
Valeria Paz Moscoso is a PhD candidate in the School of Philosophy and Art History at the University of Essex where she is researching art as an emancipating device in the work of Bolivian conceptual artist Roberto Valcárcel. In Bolivia she was Head of the Museum Section and Curator of Exhibitions at the National Museum of Art in La Paz. Valeria has also worked as an independent curator and undertaken research into Bolivian contemporary art. She recently co-authored Bolivia: Los caminos de la escultura, the first survey publication of Bolivian sculpture.

The Essex Collection of Art from Latin America (ESCALA) is an accredited museum based at the Colchester Campus of the University of Essex in the East of England. ESCALA stimulates research, awareness and appreciation of art from Latin America among the academic and wider community. For more information about ESCALA and its activities and to consult our online catalogue please go to

firstsite is a leading contemporary arts organisation in the East of England. The University of Essex is one of several partners to firstsite and enjoys the opportunity to work within a designated space: the University Space, within the building. ESCALA’s first exhibition in the University Space, called Southern Press: Prints from Brazil, Paraguay and Chile, attracted more than 17,000 visitors between 25 September 2011 and 17 February 2012.

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