Sunday, 29 January 2023

Textile Details

'Carmen Gloria quemada viva / Carmen Gloria burnt alive', by Elizabeth Zelada. (Photo: Martin Melaugh)
'Carmen Gloria quemada viva / Carmen Gloria burnt alive', by Elizabeth Zelada. (Photo: Martin Melaugh)


Title of Textile:Carmen Gloria quemada viva / Carmen Gloria burnt alive
Maker: Elizabeth Zelada
Country of Origin: Chile
Year Produced: 1990
Size (cm): 52cm x 38cm
Materials: Scraps of material hand sewn onto burlap
Type of Textile: Arpillera

This scene recalls a shocking event from the latter years of the Pinochet era which is strongly engraved in Chilean collective memory.

On 2 July 1986, as part of a two day national protest against the Pinochet dictatorship, a group of demonstrators near the Estación Central in Santiago de Chile were intercepted by a military patrol as they erected makeshift barricades. Most people managed to escape; Carmen Gloria Quintana, an 18 year old university student and Rodrigo Rojas DeNegri, a 19 year old photographer, recently returned from visiting his exiled mother in the USA, were caught.

Elizabeth, in a letter placed in the pocket of her arpillera, states: “In one of the many protests that we had during the dictatorship Carmen Gloria Quintana was set alight with acid and in other occasions many people died in the struggle for their ideals.”

While in flames, Rodrigo and Carmen Gloria were wrapped in blankets and dumped in a ditch off the main highway. Rodrigo died four days later and Carmen Gloria survived despite having over 60% of her body burnt.

On 10 September 2013, to mark 40 years since the military coup, BBC World News published an article by Mike Lanchin titled: "Carmen Quintana: Set on fire by Pinochet's soldiers."

Owner: Professor Masaaki Takahashi, Japan
Location: Professor Masaaki Takahashi, Japan
Original / Replica: Original
Photographer: Martin Melaugh

Textile Detail Image(s)