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Palgrave Macmillan

Violeta Parra’s Visual Art

Painted Songs

  • Book
  • © 2020


  • Explores Violeta Parra’s embroideries (arpilleras), paintings and papier-mâché sculptures.
  • Considers the links between Parra’s art, music and poetry.
  • Contains archival resources relating to Parra’s work with the BBC in London, her exhibition at the Kulttuuritalo in Helsinki and at the Museum of Modern Art in Brazil.

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About this book

This book explores Violeta Parra’s visual art, focusing on her embroideries (arpilleras), paintings, papier-mâché collages and sculptures. Parra is one of Chile’s great artists and musicians, yet her visual art is relatively unknown. Her fusion of complex imagery from Chilean folk music and culture with archetypes in Western art results in a hybrid body of work. Parra’s hybridism is the story of this book, in which Dillon explores Parra’s ‘painted songs’, the ekphrastic nature of her creations and the way ideas translate from her music and poetry into her visual art. The book identifies three intellectual currents in Parra’s art: its relationship to motifs from Chilean popular and oral culture; its relationship to the work of other modern artists; and its relationship to the themes of her protest music. It argues that Parra’s commentaries on inequality and injustice have as much resonance today as they did fifty years ago. Dillon also explores the convergence between Parra’s art and the work of other modern twentieth-century artists, considering its links to Surrealism, Pop Art and the Mexican Muralism Movement. Parra exhibited in open-air art fairs, museums and cultural centres as well as in prestigious venues such as Museu de Arte Moderna do Brasil (the Museum of Modern Art in Brazil) and the Musée des Arts Décoratifs (Museum of Decorative Arts) in Paris. This book reflects on Parra’s socially-engaged work as it was expressed through her exhibitions in these centres as well as in through own cultural centre La carpa de la reina.    

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Table of contents (5 chapters)

Authors and Affiliations

  • School of Applied Social and Policy Sciences, Ulster University, Derry-Londonderry, UK

    Lorna Dillon

About the author

Dr Lorna Dillon is a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at the University of Ulster, Northern Ireland. Her research is on Latin American art, specifically the relationship between symbolic representations and transitional justice. Lorna’s recent publications include Violeta Parra: Life and Work (2017) and “Repositioning the Popular: The Hybrid Aesthetics of Violeta Parra’s Paintings Machitún, Las tres Pascualas and Casamiento de negros”, Studies in Latin American Popular Culture No 36, (2018).    


Bibliographic Information

  • Book Title: Violeta Parra’s Visual Art

  • Book Subtitle: Painted Songs

  • Authors: Lorna Dillon

  • DOI:

  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan Cham

  • eBook Packages: Literature, Cultural and Media Studies, Literature, Cultural and Media Studies (R0)

  • Copyright Information: The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-3-030-38406-7Published: 13 October 2020

  • Softcover ISBN: 978-3-030-38409-8Published: 13 October 2021

  • eBook ISBN: 978-3-030-38407-4Published: 12 October 2020

  • Edition Number: 1

  • Number of Pages: XVI, 149

  • Number of Illustrations: 7 b/w illustrations, 8 illustrations in colour

  • Topics: Arts, Latin American Culture

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