Friday, 2 December 2022

Textile Details

'When Silence is Broken', Anonymous. (Photo: Shannon Giannit)
'When Silence is Broken', Anonymous. (Photo: Shannon Giannit)


Title of Textile:When Silence is Broken
Maker: Anonymous
Country of Origin: Canada
Year Produced: 2009
Size (cm): 40cm x 60cm
Materials: Scraps of material sewn onto a fabric backing
Type of Textile: Arpillera

This arpillera was created by a Mexican woman who sought help at the Barbra Schlifer Clinic in Toronto, Canada with her refugee claim, having fled Mexico with her children because of interpersonal violence and lack of state protection. She explains: “I ran away from Mexico because I could not take the abuse anymore from my family or my children’s father. I asked for help from an agency in Mexico but they did not help me.”

In Mexico, violence against women has dramatically increased, a situation which has been described as a “pandemic” by Ana Guezmez, representative to Mexico of United Nations Women, the UN entity for gender equality (

Changes to Canadian immigration since 2012 have meant that anyone seeking asylum in Canada from countries designated as safe such as Mexico have less rights and face increased barriers to getting protection. Lynne Jenkins, Director of Counselling Services at the Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic, states that this has resulted in: “a sharp decline in asylum claims overall, including from Mexico.” This surely represents a compromising of Canada’s reputation as a safe haven of gender equality.

Owner: Courtesy of Lynne Jenkins, Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic, Toronto
Location: Canada
Original / Replica: Original
Photographer: Shannon Giannit

Textile exhibited at: Textile Accounts of Conflicts, 17/11/2014 - 18/11/2014
Textile Accounts of Conflicts, 6/02/2015 - 7/03/2015

Textile Detail Image(s)