Textile Details

'Sala de torturas / Torture  Chamber', by Violeta Morales. (Photo: Colin Peck)
'Sala de torturas / Torture  Chamber', by Violeta Morales. (Photo: Colin Peck)


Title of Textile:Sala de torturas / Torture chamber
Maker: Violeta Morales
Country of Origin: Chile
Year Produced: 1996
Size (cm): 52cm x 47cm
Materials: Scraps of materials hand sewn onto flour sack
Type of Textile: Arpillera

This is a most visually startling piece with its simple black background and stark white figures. It graphically shows people being tortured in various ways, portraying them in a dehumanised way with featureless faces, just as torture dehumanises individuals. The symbolic enclosure of the people held in captivity accurately describes life in Chile during those years.

Chile's second national Truth Commission Report on Torture and Political Imprisonment (Valech II) published in August 2011, states that the total number of people officially registered as torture victims, from the Pinochet era, is now 38,254.

In this arpillera, Violeta Morales is outspoken about Chile's infamous history of torture, which was long unknown in the wider world. As Co-ordinator of the group Sabastián Acevedo, which was primarily concerned with the issue of torture, she was relentless in ensuring that people everywhere were informed of the widespread use of torture in Chile. With other women, she founded the Folkloric Musical Ensemble of Relatives of the detained-disappeared, as: "we also wished to sing our message of protest."

Agosin, M., (2008)

Violeta Morales died in 2001, never having found her brother Newton, who disappeared in 1974.

Owner: Conflict Textiles collection. Provenance Marjorie Agosín
Location: Roberta Bacic, Northern Ireland
Original / Replica: Original
Photographer: Colin Peck

Textile exhibited at: The Politics of Chilean Arpilleras, 6/02/2008 - 19/04/2008
Chilean Arpilleras , 11/09/2008 - 11/10/2008
The Politics of Chilean Arpilleras, 23/09/2008 - 23/09/2008
Arpilleras / Quilts that cry out, challenge and question, 12/11/2008 - 14/11/2008
The Politics of Chilean Arpilleras II, 2/03/2009 - 31/03/2009
Threads of Destiny: Testimonies of Violence, Hope and Survival, 9/05/2009 - 26/07/2009
The Human Cost of War, 8/11/2009 - 21/11/2009
Stitching Resistance, 12/10/2010 - 16/01/2011
The Human Cost of War - An Exhibition of Quilts and Arpilleras, 4/11/2010 - 15/01/2011
Arpilleras e resistência política no Chile , 30/07/2011 - 30/10/2011
Transforming threads of resistance, 27/02/2012 - 9/03/2012
Arpilleras of Chilean political resistance , 22/03/2012 - 5/06/2012
ÜberlebensKunst - Konfliktbearbeitung durch textile Bilder, 12/07/2012 - 26/08/2012
Arpilleras in contested spaces, 3/09/2013 - 6/09/2013
RETAZOS TESTIMONIALES: arpilleras de Chile y otras latitudes, 28/09/2013 - 10/11/2013
SMALL Actions BIG Movements, 1/07/2014 - 11/07/2014
Sew to Speak – Human Rights, 12/09/2014 - 14/09/2014
Textile Accounts of Conflicts, 17/11/2014 - 18/11/2014
Textile Accounts of Conflicts, 6/02/2015 - 7/03/2015
Stitched Voices / Lleisiau wedi eu Pwytho, 25/03/2017 - 13/05/2017
Stitched Voices - textila berättelse om politisk våld och motstånd , 29/08/2018 - 21/04/2019
II encuentro internacional de arte textil y resistencia, 22/08/2019 - 24/08/2019
Tras las huellas de los/as desaparecidos/as , 29/08/2019 - 31/08/2019

Textile Detail Image(s)