In the 26th edition of the International Festival Santiago a Mil, one of the great performing arts festivals in Latin America, with some 90 shows and 300,000 spectators, there have been more creative women than in any of the previous editions. It has been a central purpose of the organization of this meeting that culminates on Sunday after 18 days of intense programming, which is celebrated every January in various Chilean cities, in formal halls and in the streets. In times of feminist demands worldwide, the festival that brought together actresses, playwrights, singers and artists was marked by reflections on the role of women in art and culture and the multiple spaces to be conquered in the global society .
The Peruvian theater director Chela de Ferrari, who arrived in Chile with Much noise for nothing, a version of Shakespeare's play, thinks that the largest female presence in the festival "is an indicator of the progress of women's activism at all levels". "The arts, although they are attributed a liberal character, also harbor the taints of machismo." The playwright, who presented a show in which the roles of women are played by men, with a proposal that escapes genders and sexual stereotypes, points to a central issue: "We want to break with the idea that the male gaze and Western is the universal view, there are more ways of interpreting the world, "says De Ferrari, who considers that in Peruvian theater, for example, the most urgent conquest is dramaturgy. "We want more stories of women, more women's characters, our interpretation of the world, our order of things, is not necessarily the same as that of men."
For Emeline Michel, considered the queen of Haitian music, "music and art in general require more effort for women". "If we travel, we take the children in. It's not something that men have to do when they face a tour, I, for one, am always trying to be the best mother I can," he reflects. "Women and men think the same thing, but women have more challenges to meet our goals," says the singer, author and songwriter, who this Saturday offers the second of her two free performances at Santiago, Chile. "It is a powerful thing that this is the festival with the greatest number of creators, today is more than ever the time to build more scenarios for women, in all areas," says Michel, one of the most popular artists in his country, famous for its committed letters and social and political conscience.
The female theater collective Piel de Lava, from Argentina, came to the Chilean stages with Petroleum, whose last function is this Sunday. "We think it is interesting that the festival has a greater female presence in this edition, in fact, we celebrate that a presence that should logically be of greater parity be equated," reflect the members of this acclaimed Argentine collective in a joint statement to THE COUNTRY. "The theater must think and dialogue with its time, it is unquestionable that everything is in motion and that the role of women and the fall of certain stereotypes is generating new thoughts and undoing others", indicates Lava Skin. About creative women have a different look than their peers? "The feminine gaze inexorably carries the experience of inequality, it is not a gaze that is separated from that physical and emotional experience". And they add: "In the intellectual and artistic sectors there is machismo and this is being denounced and observed, the spaces of power in culture are occupied mostly by men".
One of the strengths of the 26th edition of the Santiago a Mil International Festival was the show The dancer, from the Catalan company Antigua i Barbuda, which is presented in a dozen Chilean municipalities free of charge until January 25. Isabel Herrera, one of its members, points out that The dancer "It's part of that female presence at the festival." It relates an anecdote: "We come from acting in Arica, Antofagasta and Iquique -cities of the north of Chile- and the people infinitely thanked the call to wake up and the cry of 'Not one more' of the dancer". For Herrera, it is important to make noise through art: "You have to keep raising your voice and opening many pots."
It was a festival marked by women. It had world-class referents such as Sophie Calle, artist, writer, photographer and French director, who arrived in Santiago de Chile with one of her most symbolic proposals: Take care a lot (Prenez soin de vous), a work made up of different female voices that can be seen until the end of the month at the Museum of Contemporary Art in the capital. According to Dada Masilo, the young South African choreographer and dancer who presents her version of Swan Lake -With a prince Siegfried who dies of love for a man-, "women are retaking our power and recovering spaces". "We are ending with a mentality that states that women must accept everything, forgive, always be pleasant and soft, that is not the case."