Presentation and Conversation with Francisco Letelier and Isabel Rojas-Williams in conversation with Chile Sin Cuenta at Avenue 50 Studio.
On the 50th Anniversary of the September 11, 1973 military coup in Chile that ushered in 17 years of dictatorship and continuing struggles to address its aftermath, Chilean American visual artist and writer Francisco Letelier offers insight into the use of culture as a tool for building solidarity and advancing justice and democracy. In the half century since the coup, Chilean exiles have created a new home in the US; through solidarity and exchange, efforts for justice in Chile have joined efforts to advance social justice and memory in the United States.
Isabel Rojas-Williams, an Art Historian and curator, served as the Executive Director of the Mural Conservancy of Los Angeles from 2011-2016. A native of Chile and resident of Los Angeles since 1973, she became an immediate and passionate fan of the mural movement here. She is a longtime civic activist who served as Mayor Villaraigosa’s liaison to the Latino, the Asian, and the African American Heritage Committees. Isabel earned her graduate degree in art history from Cal State Los Angeles, and joined the faculty there in 2007. Among her numerous research works are "Los Angeles Street Mural Movement, 1930-2009,” her master’s thesis, and a research video on David Alfaro Siqueiros, "Siqueiros: A Muralist in Exile," (exhibited at MOLAA 2010-2011), which led to her participation on the Mayor's Advisory Committee for the Siqueiros Mural and Interpretative Center project that was completed in 2012.
Isabel had a major role in helping write the mural ordinance signed by Mayor Garcetti in 2013, which lifted the 2002 mural moratorium in Los Angeles. In October 2014, Los Angeles City Council honored Isabel Rojas-Williams as one of the fifteen "Latinas in the Arts" who has made an impact in the cultural landscape of Los Angeles. On January 2016, Isabel was chosen by Los Angeles City Council and City Impact Lab as one of the exceptional "2016 Impact Makers to Watch."
Francisco Letelier, a Chilean-American artist and writer is known for his public art projects in Los Angeles, the United States, and internationally. Letelier's interdisciplinary public art projects and exhibitions extend bridges of understanding that cross borders and cultures, integrating narratives that explore memory and identity. Francisco Letelier is the son of former Chilean Ambassador Orlando Letelier, who with American colleague Ronni Karen Moffitt, was assassinated on the streets of Washington DC in 1976 by agents of the Chilean dictatorship led by General Augusto Pinochet.
Based in Venice, CA, his soaring tile murals at the MacArthur Park Westlake Metro station recognize Los Angeles as a crossroads of culture and carry on the Chilean mural tradition. Completed in 2022, “Into de Blue,” spans 105 feet through time and airflight while celebrating local history and the environment at the Los Angeles World Airport LAX Airport Police Facility.
Letelier's participatory, collaborative, and interdisciplinary public art projects and exhibitions extend bridges of understanding that cross borders and cultures, integrating narratives that explore memory and identity. Letelier’s canvas artworks have been shown nationally and internationally.