Born in Santiago de Chile, to a family of artists and writers. Raised in La Florida, a semi-wild, semi-cultivated area south of the capital, in the Maipo valley. Begins writing and drawing from an early age.



Moves to Santiago and attends St Gabriel’s English School, where she learns English.



 Her father builds her first studio in the garden, where she makes large abstract paintings.



Constructs first precarious objects, the “basuritas,” from debris. Attends Architecture School at the University of Chile in Santiago, but then switches to the Fine Arts School.



Publishes first poems in El Corno Emplumado, Mexico City.

Founds the “Tribu No,” a group of artists and poets performing collective art actions throughout the city of Santiago.



Writes theater pieces for television in collaboration with children from all over Chile and other members of the Tribu No.



Stages “Otoño,” her first solo exhibition, at the National Museum of Fine Arts, Santiago.

“Pinturas, Poemas y Explicaciones,” solo exhibition at the National Museum of Fine Arts, Santiago.

Signs contract for the publication of a poetry manuscript, Sabor A Mí, in Valparaíso, Chile. The book is censored before going to press and remains unpublished to date.



Travels to London to attend the Slade School of Fine Arts, University College, with the support of a British Council Scholarship.



“Pain Things & Explanations,” solo exhibition at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London. 

Democratically-elected president Salvador Allende is deposed by the military coup in Chile. Seeks asylum and stays in England.

Publishes her first book, Saborami, with Beau Geste Press, Devon, U.K.



Co-founds Artists for Democracy, an artist's organization against dictatorship, and organizes the Arts Festival for Democracy in Chile at the Royal College of Art.

“A Journal of Objects for the Chilean Resistance,” solo exhibition at the Arts Meeting Place, London.



Travels to Bogotá, Colombia, where she collaborates with La Corporación Colombiana de Teatro and creates stage designs for them.



“Homenaje a Vietnam,” solo exhibition at Fundación Gilberto Alzate Avendaño, Bogotá.



Teaches art workshop at the Guambiano Indigenous community of Cauca, Colombia, which culminates in an exhibition of local work curated by the community at the Museo de Arte Popular Colombiano.



Takes part in the “Eduardo Coté Lamus” national poetry contest, where judge Jaime Manrique Ardila denounces the jury for denying the prize to Vicuña. The suppression of her work makes her famous almost overnight, and she forms a band with two musicians and performs her poetry throughout the city of Bogotá.



Directs her first documentary film, What is Poetry to You?, in Bogotá.

Travels to New York, where she meets and marries fellow artist César Paternosto.

Joins the Heresies Collective, a feminist publication on art and politics.



Exhibits at MoMA as part of the group show, “Latin American Video.”



Publishes Precario/Precarious (Tanam Press), which receives the LINE II Award for Best Artist Book of the Year.

Directs Paracas, a three-dimensional animation of a pre Columbian textile.



Establishes a second home in Buenos Aires, dividing her time between New York and Argentina.

Publishes Palabrarmas in Buenos Aires.



Travels to Peru, Ecuador, and Bolivia to study Andean culture and meets musicians and ethnolomusicologists José Pérez de Arce and Claudio Mercado, with whom she begins a collaboration.



Exhibits at Segunda Bienal de La Habana, Cuba. Travels to Temuco, where she meets Carmela Romero Antivil, Mapuche machi.



Publishes Samara in Colombia.

Begins to perform in the high Andean pitch of her maternal line in Santiago and Buenos Aires.

Meets Leda Valladares, poet, musician, and ethnolomusicologist.



Edits the "Palabra Sur" series of Latin American books in translation by Graywolf Press.



“Precarious,” solo exhibition at Exit Art, New York. 

Exhibits at “The Decade Show,” at the New Museum, New York.

Publishes La Wik’uña in Santiago, Chile.



Publishes Unravelling Words & the Weaving of Water (Graywolf Press).

Exhibits at “America, The Bride of The Sun,” at the Royal Museum, Antwerp.

“El Ande Futuro,” solo exhibition at the University Art Museum, Berkeley, California.



“Ceq’e Fragments,” solo exhibition at Center for Contemporary Arts, Santa Fe, NM.

“Hilumbres Allqa,” solo exhibition at the Kanaal Art Foundation, Kortrijk, Belgium.



Teaches a workshop in Caleu, a mountain community in central Chile, where the oral traditions of the “baile chino” are being lost.



Exhibits at “INside the VISIBLE,” an exhibit named after her poem of same title, at the ICA, Boston.

“Precario,” solo exhibition at The Royal Botanical Gardens, Edinburgh.

Publishes Word & Thread in Edinburgh.



Publishes QUIPOem / The Precarious Art & Poetry of Cecilia Vicuña (Wesleyan UP), edited by Catherine de Zegher.

Exhibits at the Whitney Museum of American Art Biennial.

“K’isa",” solo exhibition at the University Art Gallery, University of Massachusetts.



“Cloud-Net,” solo travelling exhibition at Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center, Buffalo, NY; DiverseWorks Artspace, Houston, Texas; and Art in General, New York, NY.

Publishes Ül: Four Mapuche Poets, a trilingual anthology.



Semiya, solo exhibition at Galería Gabriela Mistral, Ministerio de Educación, Santiago, Chile, dedicated to the native seeds threatened with extinction.

Exhibits in the show “Quotidiana,” at Castello di Rivoli, Italy.



“Book No Book,” an exhibit of her artist’s books at the Woodland Pattern Book Center, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.



Publishes Instan (Kelsey St. Press). 

"Thread Mansion", one woman exhibition at, The Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art

“Dis solving threads of water and light,” two-person, site specific installation with César Paternosto at The Drawing Center, New York.



Publishes I Tu in Buenos Aires.

Divorces César Paternosto. Increasingly divides her time between Chile and New York.

Performance tour of Latin America with Jerome Rothenberg; visits Chile, Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil. 

Meets life partner James O'Hern.



Phipps Chair in Contemporary Poetry at the University of Denver.



Publishes V, an anthology of her poetry, in Lima, Perú.



Her first book, Saborami, is reprinted in Chile.

Exhibits at “WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution,” at The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.

“Otoño,” a documentary reconstruction of her 1971 exhibition at Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Santiago.



Co-edits The Oxford Book of Latin American Poetry, which comprises 500 years of poetic production in seven languages, including oral and visual poetries.

Curates “Painted Ideas,” an exhibition of visual poetry and poetry in space in Latin America, at Cecilia de Torres Gallery in New York.

 “Water Writing: Anthological Exhibition, 1966-2009,” a retrospective exhibition at the Institute for Women & Art, Rutgers University.

Co-founds oysi.org, a non profit organization and website dedicated to oral poetries around the world.



Directs Kon Kon, an autobiographical documentary poem in film about her work in Con Con, Chile.

Exhibits at “ONLINE: Drawing Through the Twentieth Century,” at MoMA, Museum of Modern Art, N.Y.

Publishes Soy Yos, a selected edition of her poetry.



Publishes Chanccani Quipu, an artist quipu book, Granary Books, N.Y.

Exhibits at “DANCE/DRAW,” at The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston.

Publishes Saborami, a semi-facsimile edition of her first book, with Chain Links.

Receives the Intangible Heritage Fondart Award for her project "Tugar Tugar Salir a Buscar el Sentido Perdido", conducted in Caleu, Chile.

Oysi co-organizes the Coloquio sobre Oralidad at the Consejo Nacional de la Cultura y las Artes, Valparaíso, Chile.



Exhibits at the Twenty-Eighth Sydney Biennale, Australia.

“Aural,” site specific solo installation at Galería Patricia Ready, Santiago, Chile.

Publishes Spit Temple: Selected Oral Performances by Cecilia Vicuña (Ugly Duckling Presse), edited by Rosa Alcalá

Co-founds "Torn Sound", an app for mobile phones dedicated to dissonant sound and poetry around the world.