Sunday, 29 January 2023

Textile Details

'Broken Rifle' by Irene MacWilliam. (Photo: Nozizwe Madlala-Toutledge)
'Broken Rifle' by Irene MacWilliam. (Photo: Nozizwe Madlala-Toutledge)


Title of Textile:Broken Rifle
Maker: Irene MacWilliam
Country of Origin: Northern Ireland
Year Produced: 2013
Size (cm): 30cm x 21cm
Materials: Made with cottons and machine worked.
Type of Textile: Arpillera

Here, the striking image of a broken rifle, clenched by strong hands which are reddened with the bloodshed of war, is vividly depicted here in textile form by MacWilliam. The symbol itself, which represents the destruction of weapons and denounces the institution of war, was first used in the masthead of the January 1909 issue of De Wapens Neder (Down With Weapons), the monthly paper of the International Anti-militarist Union in the Netherlands. During the twentieth century it has become synonymous with the pacifist/nonviolent section of the anti-war movement.

War Resisters International (WRI), a global pacifist and anti-militarist network came into being in 1921 and adopted the broken rifle as its core symbol in 1931. Many of its founders were involved in the resistance to the First World War; its first Secretary, Herbert Runham Brown, spent two and a half years in a British prison as a conscientious objector. Currently, WRI includes over 80 affiliated groups in 40 countries committed to their founding declaration which states that: “War is a crime against humanity. I am therefore determined not to support any kind of war, and to strive for the removal of all causes of war..”. The broken rifle is indeed an apt symbol.

Owner: Peace Group. Germany
Location: Germany
Original / Replica: Original
Photographer: Nozizwe Madlala-Toutledge

Textile exhibited at: SMALL Actions BIG Movements, 1/07/2014 - 11/07/2014

Textile Detail Image(s)