Sunday, 5 July 2020
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  • 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)