Pedro Lemebel, the Chilean writer, artist, activist, and provocateur, died last Friday morning of laryngeal cancer. By the afternoon, newspapers in Latin America and Spain teemed with tributes. In his native Santiago, hundreds gathered for his funeral on Saturday, and celebrities and politicians competed to offer the most extravagant praise. The son of a baker, he studied metal forging and furniture making before working briefly as an art teacher in two high schools. There was wine, too, and pretty boys.
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Pedro Mardones Lemebel is a writer and artist. He adopted the surname of his mother as a sign of his commitment to the feminine condition. Nevertheless, his open homosexuality was not accepted by some members of these left-wing groups, and in response he wrote a manifesto titled Hablo por mi diferencia I Speak from My Difference , which was read in public for the first time in at the Mapocho train station in Santiago de Chile, at the same time as a secret meeting of leftist dissidents was being held.
For the reading, Lemebel himself wore high-heeled shoes, which came to be a natural part of his performances. This piece combines a self-portrait of Lemebel, who appears with the hammer and sickle drawn on his face, while an audio recording of his voice recites the aforementioned manifesto, which is both deeply poetic and soundly reasoned. Many artists in Latin America, and especially those from countries in the Southern Cone who in the eighties had endured repression from military dictatorships, developed practices based on action and intervention, from a stance of political commitment and the defence of non-normative sexualities.
To do so, Lemebel makes use of queer performative strategies stemming from artistic feminism, such as the use of masquerade, costume and transvestism, on which an image of non-victimised subordination is constructed, and through which stereotyped representations of gender are questioned. Lola Hinojosa. Browse all artworks Authors A-Z. Hablo por mi diferencia Manifesto. I Speak from My Difference.
Pedro Lemebel Santiago de Chile, Chile, - Descriptive technique:. Photograph, lightbox and audio recording 11'. Entry date:. Register number:.
A Surreal End for an Unforgettable Queen: Pedro Lemebel, 1952-2015
Manifesto (I Speak For My Difference)
Manifiesto. Hablo por mi diferencia (Manifesto. I Speak from My Difference)