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Updated: Nov 26, 2022

In 1971 Deira created a series of paintings collectively known as "Identifications". These paintings mirror tragic political events in Latin America, Vietnam, and Bangladesh. The title refers to the severed hands of Ernesto Che Guevara used to confirm his identity after execution.

Deira by Anatole Saderman

The series was being exhibited at the Instituto de Arte Latinoamericano de la Universidad de Chile when, on September 11, 1973, the military regime of Augusto Pinochet came to power by overthrowing the democratic government of Salvador Allende. The military regime burned books in public plazas, thousands were arrested, tortured, and nearly 3000 Chileneans and even foreign citizens were executed or vanished. Deira's series of "Identifications" was hidden until rediscovered in 2003. In November of 2020, after lengthy negotiation with involved the collaboration of Interpol, the canvases were returned, and exhibited at the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes in Buenos Aires. Today, "Identifications" becomes the subject of a possible documentary that I believe will narrate the circumstances under which the series of "Identifications" was created, a time of political turmoil, political unrest, and violence. The military coup in Chile was followed in Argentina by a shift to the right of the constitutional Peronist regime. For the next three years, terror reigned in the streets of Buenos Aires at the hands of paramilitary bands. If memory serves me well, it was sometime between ten and the Argentine military coup of 1976 that Deira and his family went into exile in Paris. The possible documentary might be just the right opportunity to revisit a period I have consistently avoided mentioning in my documentary work.

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