Santa Chingada: The Perfect Little Woman

Media - 2021.61.5 - SAAM-2021.61.5_1 - 143022
Copied Kukuli Velarde, Santa Chingada: The Perfect Little Woman, 1999-2000, ceramic and mixed media, 25 in. × 18 in. × 11 12 in. (63.5 × 45.7 × 29.2 cm), Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift from the collection of Clemmer and David Montague, 2021.61.5

Artwork Details

Santa Chingada: The Perfect Little Woman
25 in. × 18 in. × 11 12 in. (63.5 × 45.7 × 29.2 cm)
Credit Line
Gift from the collection of Clemmer and David Montague
Mediums Description
ceramic and mixed media
  • Figure female
Object Number

Artwork Description

Kukuli Velarde portrays her inherited memories and emotions. Her series of squatting ceramic figures, called Isichapuitu, were inspired by a Peruvian myth about a priest who used vessels called Manchaypuitu (male) and Isichapuitu (female) to summon spirits from the past. This Isichapuitu embodies a “Perfect Little Woman,” after the Virgin Mary of Sorrows, a mournful figure with seven daggers piercing her heart. This woman has no power over her own body: she is pregnant but wears a chastity belt, and she wears a mask of an idealized white woman. Velarde crafts a charged moment, as if the woman has woken up and realized her confinement. She removes the mask to show herself as a fierce Indigenous woman. 

Velarde wrote the text around the sculpture’s edge:  I open my arms to you, saying “I am yours.” Nail your thorns on me. I will be the one who heals your wounds and relieves you from your sorrows. I do not ask for anything in return. If something, maybe a little of your love . . .  If something, maybe just to know I am your savior, the sacrificed mother of your children . . .  Any offense you inflict on me is welcome as my token . . . For your veneration . . .

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