Headlands Center for the Arts

Violeta Gil

Spain | writing
Artist in Residence Program 2019

Artist Statement

A while ago I read an essay by a friend who talked about our need for the other, the need to attend to our roots, and tried to explain what happens to us when we keep traveling and lose our sense of belonging, or our sense of homeland. She talked about people who spend their youth going from country to country looking for jobs, scholarships… What happens when people love each other in a no-place, a landscape that doesn’t belong to either of them? Is it possible to create a real bond with someone when you are basically trying to survive?

Words and verses existed before the world did, the rhythm of poems is pure mathematics, words were already around when the cosmos started organising itself. But even so, we don’t give up finding something new each time, a key that would help us to better understand who we are, how we love, how we relate to others.

While at Headlands

Last year I started a non fiction project that combines the monologue form that I have often explored in my theatre writing, with a reflection on historic and political events in my country. I started with a personal family story that I had not been able to write in Spanish, and found that writing in English gave me a kind of freedom to explore family issues that my own language was not giving me. I’ve kept working on this series of essays that interweave family stories at the end of the dictatorship and beginning of democracy in Spain, with personal ones and the current political situation in my country. The use of the private sphere to explain public affairs and the other way around. I will be using my time at Headlands Center for the Arts to keep working on it.

Selected Writing

“The Day Broke Clear: An Autobiographical monologue/a letter”

Selected Readings


Reading by Violeta Gil for the Paris Lit Up launch; filmed by Mamen Díaz


Reading by Violeta Gil; filmed by Alván Prado

Selected Works