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, 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 . . .


This Present Moment: Crafting a Better World, 2022



Quilt featuring the portrait of a woman
This Present Moment: Crafting a Better World
May 13, 2022April 2, 2023
This Present Moment: Crafting a Better World showcases the dynamic landscape of American craft today. The exhibition highlights the role that artists play in our world to spark essential conversations, stories of resilience, and methods of activism—showing us a more relational and empathetic world. It centers more expansive definitions and acknowledgments of often-overlooked histories and contributions of women, people of color, and other marginalized communities.