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Latina Lista: News from the Latinx perspective > Columns & Features > Global Views > Chilean art collective works to replace scarred memories of war with words of beauty

Chilean art collective works to replace scarred memories of war with words of beauty

LatinaLista — Since 2001, six cities around the world have been bombed. Not with explosives or missiles but with poems!

The Bombing of Poems is described as a performance piece but it goes beyond just a simple act of theatrics. Starting with Santiago, Chile in 2001, Dubrovnik, Croatia (2002), Guernica, Spain (2004), Warsaw, Poland (2009), Berlin, Germany (2010) and finally in London, England in 2012, 100,000 poems have been dropped over each of these cities, chosen because they had experienced wartime bombing in the past.

Created by the Chilean art collective Casagrande, the Bombing of Poems was performed over strategic sites that served as sad reminders of when the cities were under siege either by oppressive regimes or invaded by military enemies.

With hands outstretched, the people of Guernica, Spain wait to catch poems raining down on them.
With hands outstretched, the people of Guernica, Spain wait to catch poems raining down on them.

This performance creates an alternative image of the past and is a gesture of remembrance as well as being a metaphor for the survival of cities and people.

The organizers of each ‘bombing’ proudly point out that littering is never a problem at their sites because for every poem that is released from the aircrafts, someone picks it up and keeps it as a momento. The poems, printed on bookmarks, feature the works of both Chilean poets and poets from the country of the city being bombed.

Now, Casagrande wants to preserve these events by publishing a book in both English and Spanish featuring 300 poems and pictures of the London event. The poets whose work will be featured in the book represent more than 200 different countries.

Yet, there’s a twist.

We work with the slogan ‘can’t be sold, can’t be bought’ (no se vende ni se compra).

In other words, each poetic action, every project or final product is free.

To accomplish their goal, they need to raise $8,000 US dollars. They’ve created a campaign on Ideame and have only a few weeks left to complete their campaign.

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