Wednesday, 24 July 2024

Textile Details

'Lost children of war', by Irene MacWilliam. (Photo: Martin Melaugh)
'Lost children of war', by Irene MacWilliam. (Photo: Martin Melaugh)


Title of Textile:Lost children of war
Maker: Irene MacWilliam
Country of Origin: Northern Ireland
Year Produced: 2009
Size (cm): 49cm x 30cm
Materials: Cottons with felt wadding
Type of Textile: Wall hanging

Irene MacWilliam was deeply moved by the posters being circulated at one time to help families find each other after being separated and displaced by war. Especially concerned about the lost and displaced children, she created this piece to depict their desperation, making the children ghost like, devoid of nationality or race to express that they are living a half life. Irene chose to focus on children rather than adults: “since the image of a distressed child is very emotive”.

Irene recalls her own family’s experience of displacement and separation during World War II when her father was detained as a prisoner of war from 1942-1945, initially in Changi, Signapore and then on the Burma Railway. She reflects: “not only was my dad captured but Mum escaped to Australia with my older brother and myself (babe in arms) and just a suitcase of belongings”.

Recent reports reveal that worldwide, almost 33 million children have been forcibly displaced; of these, 11.8 million are child refugees, approximately 1.3 million are asylum-seeking children and an estimated 20.4 million have been displaced within their own countries by violence and conflict.UNICEF, (2021) "Child displacement"

Displacement poses real dangers for children, with unaccompanied children being the most likely to be killed, tortured, raped, robbed and recruited as child soldiers.

Much remains to be done to safeguard children affected by armed conflict so that they have an opportunity to live as children, grow to adulthood and contribute to their communities.

Owner: Irene Mac William collection
Location: Conflict Textiles store
Original / Replica: Original
Photographer: Martin Melaugh
Provenance: In the care of Conflict Textiles collection.

Textile exhibited at: Arpilleras that Cry Out, 22/06/2009 - 10/07/2009
Finding Our Voices -The Power of Arpilleras, 26/09/2009 - 30/10/2009
The Human Cost of War, 8/11/2009 - 21/11/2009
Cultural Stories in Textiles, 25/02/2010 - 27/02/2010
The Human Cost of War - An Exhibition of Quilts and Arpilleras, 4/11/2010 - 15/01/2011
Stitching and Unstitching The Troubles-phase 1, 5/09/2012 - 29/09/2012
RETAZOS TESTIMONIALES: arpilleras de Chile y otras latitudes, 28/09/2013 - 10/11/2013
Women 31 , 7/03/2014 - 15/04/2014
SMALL Actions BIG Movements, 1/07/2014 - 11/07/2014
Arpillera Journeys, 6/03/2015 - 12/06/2015
War-Torn Children, 1/03/2017 - 15/04/2017
War-Torn Children , 17/07/2017 - 28/07/2017
War-Torn Children, 2/10/2017 - 27/10/2017
War-Torn Children, 8/02/2018 - 24/03/2018
War-Torn Children, 5/09/2018 - 29/11/2018
Light during the darkness: Remembering the Holocaust, 18/01/2021 - 1/02/2021
Nonviolence in Action: Antimilitarism in the 21st Century, 24/03/2021 - 31/12/2021
Reflections on Refugees: Communicating through Art, 29/03/2022 - 16/05/2022
The Good Friday Agreement: Work in Progress, 12/04/2023 - 16/04/2023

Textile Detail Image(s)