Wednesday, 29 January 2020
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  • Textile Details

    '¿Dónde están nuestros hijos? / Where are our children?', Anonymous. (Photo: Martin Melaugh)
    '¿Dónde están nuestros hijos? / Where are our children?', Anonymous. (Photo: Martin Melaugh)


    Title of Textile:¿Dónde están nuestros hijos? / Where are our children?
    Maker: Anonymous
    Country of Origin: Chile
    Year Produced: 1979
    Size (cm): 68cm x 63cm
    Materials: Scraps of material hand sewn onto burlap
    Type of Textile: Arpillera

    This arpillera, made in 1979, in one of the Vicaria de la Solidaridad workshops in Santiago, depicts the despair of a mother whose children are missing. A handwritten note hidden in a small pocket at the back of the arpillera gives us a glimpse of the depth of this mother's grief. Her message, penned from her personal despair, is on behalf of all Chilean women who endured the repression and human rights violations of the Pinochet regime at that time. In this note, the writing is extremely poignant:

    "This represents our children ...where they are now.., under the eye of the 'dina' [political secret police]; while we, the mothers, cry to one day hear about them".

    An anguished mother in pain, Chile, 1979.

    In this piece, the mountains and sun, common features in all arpilleras, are missing. Against a bleak background we see a crying mother kneeling with another woman, flanked by two police men. Above, large hands framed in a heart shape are encased by two large interrogating eyes. In the midst of this desolate scene the peace doves seem to be falling to the ground.

    Owner: Conflict Textiles collection. Provenance Jacquie Monty, England (deceased).
    Location: Roberta Bacic, Northern Ireland
    Original / Replica: Original
    Photographer: Martin Melaugh

    Textile exhibited at: Stitching Resistance, 12/10/2010 - 16/01/2011
    Arpilleras e resistência política no Chile , 30/07/2011 - 30/10/2011
    Arpilleras of Chilean political resistance , 22/03/2012 - 5/06/2012
    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
    Disobedient Objects, 26/07/2014 - 11/02/2015
    Conflict Textiles collection: Tower Museum and Guildhall, 11/07/2016 - 16/12/2016
    Art and Human Rights Network Day , 20/06/2017 - 20/06/2017
    Arpilleras Speak Truth, 25/09/2017 - 28/10/2017
    Threads, War and Conflict, 3/04/2019 - 29/04/2019

    Textile Detail Image(s)

      '¿Dónde están nuestros hijos? / Where are our children?' (reverse side), Anonymous. (Photo: Colin Peck)