Wednesday, 6 July 2022

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
Chile 1973 , 22/02/2020 - 22/02/2020
Abrazo Entramado (Woven Hug), 16/02/2022 - 7/04/2022
Conflict Textiles as Counter Archives in Truth Commission Processes, 26/05/2022 - 26/05/2022

Textile Detail Image(s)

  '¿Dónde están nuestros hijos? / Where are our children?' (reverse side), Anonymous. (Photo: Colin Peck)  '¿Dónde están nuestros hijos? / Where are our children? - handwritten note from a small pocket at the back of the arpillera', Anonymous. (Photo: Martin Melaugh)