Wednesday, 24 July 2024

Event Details

Exhibition space before being opened to the public (Photo: Elsie Doolan)

Exhibition space before being opened to the public (Photo: Elsie Doolan)


Exhibition and associated activities:Threads of Empowerment: Conflict Textiles’ International Journey
Description: When words are not enough to express our lived experiences, stitching and sewing emerge as textile language.

Through textile narrative, people from countries across the world have communicated their experiences in relation to violence and conflict, human rights violations, poverty, oppression and environmental issues. The result is a visual record and a form of artistic expression based on personal, and often very poignant testimonies.

The Ulster Museum has been collaborating with Conflict Textiles since 2017, drawing on their collection of over 400 documented arpilleras, quilts and wall hangings. Arpilleras (pronounced 'ar-pee-air-ahs') are appliquéd picture textiles, handsewn from scraps of materials onto a hessian backing. They originated in Chile during the Pinochet regime (1973-1990), when women came together to voice their experiences of the violence and repression of the dictatorship. The majority, but not all, of the makers are women.

From Chile but now based in Northern Ireland, Roberta Bacic, Collector and Curator of Conflict Textiles, has developed this collection and used it internationally to highlight the issues and people it represents. Beginning with the exhibition The Art of Survival: International and Irish Quilts in Derry/Londonderry in 2008, the Conflict Textiles collection has since been exhibited around the world, empowering people to share their story.

For further information please visit the Ulster Museum exhibition page.

The official press release by Ulster Museum was published after the preview.

On International Human Rights Day 2022, National Museums NI marked a landmark acquisition of 14 pieces from the Conflict Textiles collection. These are the pieces that were acquired at the time.

The exhibition is part of the Belfast Arts Festival 2024 (16 Oct - 23 Nov).
Commissioned by: Ulster Museum and Conflict Textiles
Date(s): 21st June 2024 - 27th April 2025
Venue: Ulster Museum, Belfast, Northern Ireland
Botanic Gardens, Belfast BT9 5AB, Northern Ireland
Curator: Conflict Textiles curator Roberta Bacic
Facilitator: Karen Logan and Kim Mawhinney, Ulster Museum senior curators

Documents: • Textile list: Threads of Empowerment, Feb. 24 - view
• Introduction to Conflict Textiles - view
• Leaflet: Threads of Empowerment & Satellites - view
• Threads of Empowerment Opening Statement - view
• Press Release (accessed 24/06/24) - view
• Photo Gallery: ToE Transfer and Setup - view

Textiles Displayed:Vida en Nuestra Población / Life in Our Poor Neighbourhood
The day we will never forget
POSAR FIL A L'AGULLA / Hands On: An arpillera made out of commitment
Bienvenida a las personas refugiadas - Pancarta para acciones no-violentas
Gegossenes Blei / Cast lead
Nie wieder! / Never again!
Al Servicio de la vida / Servicing life
María Loreto Castillo Muñoz
Nos hacen falta / We miss them
Irene, Marta, Hilda, Patricia: Now and Always Present
Cunetas / Ditches
¿Dónde están nuestros hijos? / Where are our children?
Encadenamiento / Women Chained to Parliament Gates
Cassettes of exile / Cassettes del exilio
Exilio ll / Exile II (Woman mourning those who have been exiled)
Retorno de los exiliados / Return of the exiles
Aquí se tortura / Here they torture
En Chile se tortura / Demonstration against torture
Libertad a los presos políticos / Freedom for the political prisoners
Hermanos Mapuche en huelga de hambre / Mapuche people on hunger strike
Puntadas de Vida / Stitches of Life
Aleppo school / Escuela en Aleppo, Siria
Violencia en Ayacucho / Violence in Ayacucho
Olla común en una población / Soup Kitchen in a barrio
Life with and without Bees
No to Corporativism
Juguemos en el bosque mientras el aire está 2
From Far away come their stories
Roberta Bacic