Textile Details

'En el lado “bueno” de la valla 2/ On the “Good
'En el lado “bueno” de la valla 2/ On the “Good" Side of the Fence 2', by Antonia Amador. (Photo: Roser Corbera)


Title of Textile:En el lado “bueno” de la valla 2 / On the “Good" Side of the Fence 2
Maker: Antonia Amador
Country of Origin: Spain
Year Produced: 2016
Size (cm): 47cm (w) x 46cm (l)
Materials: Scraps of material hand sewn onto burlap
Type of Textile: Arpillera

This arpillera depicts the perilous sea journey undertaken by people fleeing their homelands in Africa to escape war and persecution, in search of a better life in Europe. Crossing treacherous straits of water, in overcrowded, unseaworthy boats, they eventually reach the shores of the Iberian Peninsula. Not all survive the journey.

Arpillerista Antonia, enraged by these stories, informs us through a letter tucked in a pocket at the back of her arpillera: “On the “good” side of the fence [shows] that …while on the boat they never thought they would find their death.”

In this, her second arpillera on the theme, she graphically portrays the arrival of these asylum seekers and migrants who “believed they [were coming] to paradise.” Instead, she tells us, “it was the Police that awaited them on the shore of the peninsula.”

On the next stage of their journey they are transported to detention centres, where they can be held indefinitely while the courts decide if they will be granted refugee status or deported. Conditions in these overcrowded centres, coupled with not knowing their future destiny, impacts negatively on the mental health of detainees. Adobeker* from Darfur, who was detained in Campsfield House, Britain for two years explains: “People get stressed because there’s no answer…If I knew it would be a day, a week, even a year… The problem is not knowing.” (Foreigners behind bars, New Internationalist 469, January/February 2014).

*Not his real name.

Such a repressive, undignified system, where the odds are stacked against those journeying forth in the hope of a better life prompts Antonia to conclude: “What a shame that in the XXl century human rights are not respected....We all have the right to a dignified life, no matter where you come from.”

Owner: Conflict Textiles collection
Location: c/o Roland Kostić, Hugo Valentin Centre, Uppsala University
Original / Replica: Original
Photographer: Roser Corbera

Textile Detail Image(s)