Textile Details

'Landmines', by Heidi Drahota. (Photo: Heidi Drahota)
'Landmines', by Heidi Drahota. (Photo: Heidi Drahota)


Title of Textile:Landmines
Maker: Heidi Drahota
Country of Origin: Germany
Year Produced: 2014
Size (cm): 55cm x 48cm
Materials: A variety of fabrics (some hand-dyed with plants) used with yarns, wire and cord and oil sticks.
Type of Textile: Arpillera

Antipersonnel landmines are explosive devices, which can lie dormant for years until a person or animal unwittingly triggers their detonating mechanism. Designed to maim rather than kill, landmines when detonated, be they blast, fragmentation or bounding type, cause horrific injuries such as burns, blindness, destroyed limbs and shrapnel wounds resulting in amputations, long hospital stays and extensive rehabilitation. http://www.icbl.org/index.php/icbl/problem/landmines/What-is-a-Landmine

While there has been extensive use of landmines in Cambodia, Colombia, Syria, Israel, Libya and Pakistan, by both government and non state armed troops, Afghanistan is cited as one of the most mined countries in the world, by HALO Trust, a humanitarian landmine clearance organisation, who estimate that up to 640,000 mines have been laid in Afghanistan since 1979.http://www.halotrust.org/where-we-work/afghanistan

The devastating impact of landmines prompted textile artist Heidi Drahota, to create this arpillera. Heidi, who has connections with women in Afghanistan through her textile work describes how she: “came into direct contact with the incredible consequences of landmines for the first time.” The impact on children affected her deeply: “These children are innocent victims of the actions of adults and governments.” Many of these Afghani children would have unwittingly picked up a “butterfly” mine, a type used during the Soviet occupation, which resembled a butterfly or toy. The image of a playful child about to pick up a fluttering butterfly, which will have life shattering consequences, surely reveals the futility of war and combat to its fullest. http://www.afghan-network.net/Landmines/

Cognisant of the fact that landmine use extends to many conflict zones far beyond Afghanistan Heidi adds her voice to the global network of groups demanding a ban on the use of landmines. While the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty, also known as the Ottawa convention, has succeeded in stigmatising the use of landmines throughout the world, they are still being used by states who are not signatories to the treaty, including Syria, Israel, Libya and Myanmar.

Notwithstanding the fact that the United States, Russia and China are not signatories to the treaty, it is heartening that more than 80 percent of states have joined the Mine Ban Treaty, including many nations that at one time produced mines. It is also testimony to the power of humanitarian groups working together to effect change to a world free of the devastating impact of war and is evidence that the plea made by Heidi, who: “calls on the world to work up the courage to solve conflicts differently” is being actualised.

Owner: Heidi Drahota collection, Germany
Location: c/o Martin Melaugh, CAIN, Ulster University, Northern Ireland
Original / Replica: Original
Photographer: Heidi Drahota

Textile Detail Image(s)