Poet and artist, born in Chile, she performs and exhibits her work widely in Europe, Latin America and the US. She is also a political activist and founding member of Artists for Democracy. Since l980 she lives in New York and Chile.
She has been creating “precarious works”, ephemeral installations in nature, cities and museums since l966, as a way of “hearing an ancient silence waiting to be heard.” She lectures and teaches workshops and seminars, for indigenous communities, and universities, such as Naropa University, Denver University, SUNY Purchase and Universidad de Buenos Aires. She recently completed a performance tour of four Latin American countries, along with the American poet Jerome Rothenberg.
Her visual work has been exihibited at the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes de Santiago, The Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) and The Whitecahel Art Gallery in London, and at The Whitney Museum of American Art and MoMA (Museum of Modern Art), in New York, among many others.
The author of 16 books, her poetry has been translated into several languages. Her titles include: Palabrarmas, RIL 2005. I Tu, Tse-tse, 2004. Instan, Kelsey St Press, 2003. El Templo, Situations, 2001. Cloud-Net, Art in General, New York, l999. UL, Four Mapuche Poets, edited by Cecilia Vicuña, LARP, l998. QUIPOem, The Precarious, The Art & Poetry of Cecilia Vicuña, edited by Catherine de Zegher, Wesleyan University Press, l997. Unravelling Words & The Weaving of Water, edited by Eliot Weinberger, Graywolf Press, l992. Samara, Ed. Museo Rayo, Colombia l987. La Wik’uña, Francisco Zegers Editor, Chile, l990. Palabrarmas, El Imaginero, Buenos Aires, l984. Precario/Precarious, Tanam Press, New York l983. Luxumei o el Traspié de la Doctrina, Editorial Oasis, México, l983. SABORAMI, Beau Geste Press, Inglaterra, l973. Templo e'Saliva / Spit Temple, a collection of her oral performances, edited by Rosa Alcalá is forthcoming by Factory School Press. She is currently at work on an Anthology of 500 Years of Latin American Poetry for Oxford University Press.