Tuesday, 23 July 2024

Textile Details

'Hornos de Lonqén / Limekilns of Lonquén', Anonymous. (Photo: Martin Melaugh)
'Hornos de Lonqén / Limekilns of Lonquén', Anonymous. (Photo: Martin Melaugh)


Title of Textile:Hornos de Lonquén / Lime kilns of Lonquén
Maker: Anonymous
Country of Origin: Chile
Year Produced: 1979c
Size (cm): 46cm (w) x 39cm (l)
Materials: Scraps of material hand sewn onto burlap
Type of Textile: Arpillera

This arpillera, vivid in colour, gives us an insight into the overwhelming struggle of the relatives of the disappeared for truth and justice. In spite of police repression they persevered in their struggle to demand the truth, find their disappeared relatives and mourn them.

On 7 October 1973, 15 peasant men, from the town of Isla de Maipo, members of an agricultural co-operative, were taken from their homes and arrested. Every trace of their whereabouts was lost until 1978. For five years, the wives, mothers and daughters of these men went to jails and detention centres, trying in vain to find their relatives. Often they were told that the relative in question had escaped, had never been detained or had no legal existence.

Eventually, a secret testimony was given to the Vicaría de la Solidaridad. Acting on this testimony, the Vicaría searched the disused lime kiln in Lonquén, depicted in the top half of this arpillera. There, on 30 November, 1978, five years after their disappearance, the bodies of the 15 men from Isla de Maipo, who were thrown alive into the lime kiln and died an agonising death, were found.

On 30 Nov 1978, Abraham Santibáñez, deputy director of the magazine "Hoy" chillingly describes the human remains found in Lonquén: "Pieces of yellowish scalp, with some traces of loose black hair, torn clothes, amongst which you can recognise one pair of blue jeans and a man's cardigan." That's what was left of the 15 men detained in different circumstances on 9 Oct 1973 in the rural community of Isla de Maipo, the traces of whom were lost until 1978."

This case shocked the Chilean nation and marked a turning point for relatives of the disappeared, who until then, had held on to the hope that they would eventually find their relatives. The Lonquén case brought home to them the reality that "disappeared" usually meant dead.

Owner: Conflict Textiles collection
Location: On loan to CEDOC, Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Santiago de Chile - 20/03/2024
Original / Replica: Original
Photographer: Martin Melaugh
Provenance: Joanne Sheehan, USA

Textile exhibited at: Arpilleras e resistência política no Chile , 30/07/2011 - 30/10/2011
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
Arpilleras Dialogantes / Arpillera Conversations, 28/05/2015 - 28/05/2015
Overcoming, Remembering: The Politics of Sewing, 8/06/2015 - 12/06/2015
Arpilleras Bordando à Resistência / Arpilleras Embroidering Resistance, 25/09/2015 - 25/10/2015
Stitched Legacies of Conflicts , 7/10/2016 - 26/11/2016
Huellas: puntadas y caminares de la memoria / Footprints: memory stitches and steps , 29/09/2018 - 4/11/2018
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
Following the footsteps of the disappeared, 30/08/2020 - 30/08/2021
Nonviolence in Action: Antimilitarism in the 21st Century, 24/03/2021 - 31/12/2021
Following the Footsteps of the Disappeared 2021, 31/08/2021 - 20/12/2021
Conversatorio: Tejiendo Resistencia Antimilitarista y Noviolenta a la Guerra, 7/10/2021 - 7/10/2021
Following in the Footsteps of the Disappeared, 13/10/2021 - 13/10/2021
Sewing Resistance to Militarism: Arpilleras and other transnational textiles, 14/11/2021 - 14/11/2021
Tras las huellas de los/as desaparecidos/as, 10/01/2022 - 5/02/2022
Arpilleras Poéticas, 7/12/2023 - 12/02/2024
Diásporas textiles: Diálogos con la Colección, 12/02/2024 - 17/03/2024

Textile Detail Image(s)