On the Making of the Oratorio for the Disappeared: Erika Diettes in conversation with Vikki Bell

Bell, Vikki and Diettes, Erika. 2024. On the Making of the Oratorio for the Disappeared: Erika Diettes in conversation with Vikki Bell. In: Maria M. Delgado; Michal Kobialka and Bryce Lease, eds. Staging Difficult Pasts: Transnational Memory, Theatres, and Museums. Abingdon: Routledge, pp. 190-206. ISBN 9781032326030 [Book Section]

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Abstract or Description

The art practice of Erika Diettes (1978–) has produced some of the most striking contemporary artistic responses to the armed conflict in Colombia. Each of her three latest projects – Río Abajo (2008, Drifting Away), Sudarios (2011, Shrouds) and Relicarios (2011–2015, Reliquaries) – arose from a careful process of working with relatives of the murdered and disappeared. These relationships with the relatives are at the heart of her work; indeed, the art is not ‘about’ their experience, but arises from the offer of her artistic sensibilities to them as a resource.

The following conversation took place over a year, from July 2021 to May 2022. Since we could not meet due to the Covid pandemic, we spoke across four Zoom sessions. Diettes describes her wishes for the new project, a piece that, like her previous projects, is routed through her relationships with families who have suffered profound loss due to the armed conflict, but it is also quite distinct from them. For the first time, Diettes is making a site specific work, a little building, a chapel – not a capella but an oratorio as she will explain – built on the hillside near La Union, Antioquia, and filled with photographic images made with the families of the disappeared, the dolientes, those left to live with their grief.

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Book Section

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Erika Diettes, Colombia, art, the disappeared, making, site-specific

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22 December 2023Published Online

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Date Deposited:

07 Feb 2024 09:59

Last Modified:

07 Feb 2024 10:09



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