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River Rail

Con Cón, Chile, 1966 – 2006

My art was born at the meeting point of two waters, the Aconcagua River and the Pacific Ocean, at a site the first peoples of Chile called Con cón: “Water water”.

Con” is the life force, the Ocean, the “Great mother” transforming herself.


Con cón is an ancient ritual site at the foot of the Aconcagua, the tallest mountain in the Western Hemisphere. A place degraded by an oil refinery. Now the fishermen have forgotten the origin of their poetry and dance in the bird rituals.

Without the dance, the sea began to die.


Antivero, Chile, l981

“En ésos días todo estaba vivo, aún las piedras”

"In those days everything was alive, even the stones"

—Q’eros Myth

Las piedras, el agua y el sol hablan.

The stones, the water, the sun speak.

Antes de ser contaminado, el río desea ser escuchado.

Before being contaminated, the river would like to be heard.

—Translated by Anne Twitty


“The sun spins the thread of life
around the world.

The earth is a loom
where the sun weaves
the night and the day.”

—Kogi Myth

Consciousness is the art.

                                                       Justice is healing.


Quipu Mapocho, Chile, 2017

In the imaginal scale of Amerindian space, a quipu (knot) joins the body to the cosmos.

Lezama Lima said: “the image desires to know and be known.”


To protest the privatization of water in Chile I place my offering
at the birthplace of the Mapocho River, high in the Andes.


Then, I place the thread at the River's mouth in Llolleo.

The poem is the life cycle of water from glacier to sea.

A rhyme of act and sound.



Cecilia Vicuña

Cecilia Vicuña is a poet/artist who sings and works at the precarious edge of what’s known and not known. Born in Chile, she now lives in New York.


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