Saturday, 15 June 2024

Textile Details

'Cimarrón / Runaway slave', by Mujeres tejiendo sueños y sabores de paz, Mampuján. (Photo: Martin Melaugh)
'Cimarrón / Runaway slave', by Mujeres tejiendo sueños y sabores de paz, Mampuján. (Photo: Martin Melaugh)


Title of Textile:Cimarrón / Runaway slave
Maker: Mujeres tejiendo sueños y sabores de paz, Mampuján
Country of Origin: Colombia
Year Produced: 2010
Size (cm): 42cm x 55cm
Materials: Scraps of material handsewn onto backing
Type of Textile: Arpillera

Juana Alicia Ruiz is a survivor of Mampuján, a small town in northwest Colombia that was the site of a massacre on 11 March 2000 by the now demobilised United Self-Defence Forces of Colombia (AUC) a coalition of right-wing counter-insurgency paramilitary groups which was alleged to have links to the military and members of the government and congress, a number of whom were indicted before the courts for collusion. In that brutal attack, 12 people were killed, from nearby Las Brisas, and more than 1,400 civilians were displaced. Initially scattered, about half of the group settled in 2002 in Mampuján Nuevo, on small plots of land about eight kilometres away from their old community.

This arpillera, exhibited for the first time in UMASS, was made by a group of 15 women. Through this process they have found solace, a way to bear witness by sewing and a means of denouncing and sharing their dramatic experiences. They have exhibited in Geneva and several places in their own country.

Violence against communities in Colombia is not a recent phenomenon and a part of the powerful stories of these arpilleristas resides in seeing what happens today as something that is not isolated.

Juana, when asked what she would say about this arpillera which depicts state violence against her ancestors, replied: "Cimarrón means a black rebel, or slave who has escaped to the heights of the mountains. It is a textile account of the daily activities and human rights violations of our African ancestors. This happened in the big haciendas of Cartagena. They rebelled and escaped to the hills of Maria, setting up the palenques where we live now. The big man carries a punishment for a failed attempt to escape. It consists of a piece of tree tied to his shoulders."

In 2023 these women opened the Museum of Art and Memory / Museo de Arte y Memoria de Mampujan It’s a space where "via storytelling, art and heritage we can remember without pain, but with deep reflection about violence and armed conflict".

Owner: Ulster Museum collection
Location: Ulster Museum, Belfast, Northern Ireland
Original / Replica: Original
Photographer: Martin Melaugh
Provenance: Acquired from Conflict Textiles collection (2022). Donated to Conflict Textiles by Mujeres tejiendo sueños y sabores de paz, Mampuján (2010). It was taken from Colombia by Amparo Herrero, who brought it to Roberta Bacic via solidarity channels.

Textile exhibited at: Transforming threads of resistance, 27/02/2012 - 9/03/2012
RETAZOS TESTIMONIALES: arpilleras de Chile y otras latitudes, 28/09/2013 - 10/11/2013
COSIENDO PAZ: Conflicto, Arpilleras, Memoria , 26/03/2015 - 30/09/2015
COSIENDO PAZ: Conflicto, Arpilleras, Memoria, 8/10/2015 - 4/04/2016
COSIENDO PAZ: Conflicto, Arpilleras, Memoria , 13/04/2016 - 12/06/2016
Stitched Voices / Lleisiau wedi eu Pwytho, 25/03/2017 - 13/05/2017
Stitched Voices: Knowing conflict through textiles, 17/11/2017 - 20/12/2017
Stitched Voices - textila berättelse om politisk våld och motstånd , 29/08/2018 - 21/04/2019
Embracing Human Rights, 5/11/2019 - 18/12/2019
Embracing Human Rights: Conflict Textiles’ Journey, 9/01/2020 - 31/07/2020
"A Museum For Me", part of the Culture Unconfined Festival, 11/05/2020 - 31/07/2020
Con-textualising Memory / Con-textualizando la memoria, 10/12/2021 - 10/12/2021
Inclusive Global Histories, 31/03/2022 - 31/03/2025
International Human Rights Day 2022: Embracing Human Rights, 9/12/2022 - 9/12/2022

Textile Detail Image(s)