Cema-Chile’s Political Imaginaries in Artesanías

De Casiopea
TítuloCema-Chile’s Political Imaginaries in Artesanías
ProfesoresDaniela Salgado
Otros ParticipantesKodagu Chinnappa BG, Hampton Smith, Claire O’Mahony
DescripciónDHS DIALOGUES, Session 3: Disarming Craft
Rol de la EscuelaParticipante
Contraparte(s)Design History Society
Rol de la ContraparteResponsable
EventoRepresenting Craft/Crafting Representation: DHS Dialogues
Palabras Clavecrafts, artesanía, política, género, mujeres

This contribution questions the representation of typical crafts in Chile after the coup d’état of 1973, which radically impacted the idea of collective identity and popular autonomy promoted by the government of Salvador Allende towards a static, nationalist and reductionist approach promoted by the dictatorship of Pinochet and applied through Cema-Chile.

During this period of seventeen years, Cema-Chile, under its objective of ‘achieving the integral development of the Chilean became the central organism promoting and supporting the production of artesanías, setting a specific vision of typicity and national identity backed by the military government. This organism, directed by the first lady Lucía Hiriart was the continuation of the Centros de Madres or Mother’s Centers, created during the ‘30s and existing as organised state institutions formally unified as CEMA in 1952, becoming a tool for political promotion during the dictatorship. One of the instruments for disseminating the Chilean women’s values was the Cema-Chile magazine, published and circulating among all the ‘Mother’s Centres’ since 1977. This publication —between recipes, crafts projects, advertising, and historical articles— spread messages about subjugating and oppressing women in correspondence to the ideologies of the dictatorial regime.

Therefore, this contribution aims to examine representations of craftswomen created by Cema-Chile through its magazine and explore how the objects and images of traditional crafts were used for ideological purposes during this period. By exploiting crafts as a naïve production of the peasant world, which portrayed the power relations between the conservative and the popular classes through artesanías and other manifestations within the cultural sphere, the magazine endorsed different images that perpetuated landlord and peasants' imaginaries as the national symbols of Chilenidad.