Friday, 19 July 2024

Textile Details

'Peace Quilt - Common Loss', by Irene MacWilliam. (Photo: Martin Melaugh)
'Peace Quilt - Common Loss', by Irene MacWilliam. (Photo: Martin Melaugh)


Title of Textile:Peace Quilt - Common Loss
Maker: Irene MacWilliam
Country of Origin: Northern Ireland
Year Produced: 1996
Size (cm): 230cm x 150cm
Materials: Pieces of red torn scrap textiles sewn onto a dark backing fabric made up of 4 long strips
Type of Textile: Quilt

In this quilt, Irene MacWilliam expresses her deep concern for the loss of lives during The Troubles which impacted on every county and community in her native Northern Ireland.

As the work began to take shape, people sent pieces of red fabric to Irene for inclusion. The contributions came from Northern Ireland, Japan, the USA and England. Each piece of red fabric represents one of the more than 3000 people who died as a result of the conflict between 1969 and 1994. The white birds in some of the pieces represented to Irene the dove of peace; the teddy bear in another fabric reminds us of the many children who suffered from the loss of loved ones.

In 2007, out of a collective process in preparation for “The Art of Survival: International and Irish Quilts” exhibition it became “Common Loss: 3000+ dead between 1969 and 1994”. From November 2017 it will be catalogued and featured as “Peace Quilt – Common Loss”.

Whilst the legacy of this 30 year conflict still remains for individuals and society as a whole, grass roots community and cross community projects across Northern Ireland are working to address the legacy of the conflict and build a peaceful society for the present and future generations.

This quilt is also documented in Accounts of the Conflict a digital archive of personal accounts of the conflict in and about Northern Ireland, located at the International Conflict Research Institute (INCORE), Ulster University. A total of 10 textiles from the Conflict Textiles collection are included in “Accounts of the Conflict”.

Owner: Ulster Museum History collection
Location: Ulster Museum, Belfast, Northern Ireland
Original / Replica: Original
Photographer: Martin Melaugh
Provenance: Acquired from Irene MacWilliam (2021) through Conflict Textiles curator Roberta Bacic

Textile exhibited at: The Art of Survival: International and Irish Quilts, 8/03/2008 - 19/04/2008
Arpilleras / Quilts that cry out, challenge and question, 12/11/2008 - 14/11/2008
Threads of Destiny: Testimonies of Violence, Hope and Survival, 9/05/2009 - 26/07/2009
Arpilleras that Cry Out, 22/06/2009 - 10/07/2009
The Human Cost of War, 8/11/2009 - 21/11/2009
The Human Cost of War - An Exhibition of Quilts and Arpilleras, 4/11/2010 - 15/01/2011
ÜberlebensKunst - Konfliktbearbeitung durch textile Bilder, 12/07/2012 - 26/08/2012
Stitching and Unstitching The Troubles-phase 1, 5/09/2012 - 29/09/2012
Stitching and Unstitching The Troubles-phase 2, 13/04/2013 - 29/06/2013
Textile Accounts of Conflicts, 17/11/2014 - 18/11/2014
Textile Accounts of Conflicts, 6/02/2015 - 7/03/2015
Textile Language of Conflicts, 6/11/2017 - 10/11/2017
The Troubles and Beyond, 30/03/2018 - 13/05/2019
Tkanine otpora: glasovi žena / Textiles of Resistance: Women's Voices , 14/09/2019 - 30/09/2019
Embracing Human Rights: Conflict Textiles’ Journey, 9/01/2020 - 31/07/2020
Conflict Textiles as Live and Archival Language , 25/08/2020 - 25/08/2020
Conflict, Peace: Our journey, our future, 14/09/2020 - 31/10/2020
The Troubles and Beyond, 6/10/2020 - 31/08/2021
Nonviolence in Action: Antimilitarism in the 21st Century, 24/03/2021 - 31/12/2021
Documentation / Imagination / Creativity - formats of presenting conflict, 21/05/2021 - 21/05/2021
Conflict Textiles as Counter Archives in Truth Commission Processes, 26/05/2022 - 26/05/2022
The Troubles and Beyond, 18/06/2024 - 31/03/2025

Textile Detail Image(s)

  'Peace Quilt - Common Loss', by Irene MacWilliam; (Detail 1). (Photo: Martin Melaugh)  'Peace Quilt - Common Loss', by Irene MacWilliam; (Detail 2). (Photo: Martin Melaugh)  'Peace Quilt - Common Loss', by Irene MacWilliam; (Detail 3). (Photo: Martin Melaugh)