Sunday, 12 July 2020
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  • Textile Details

    'Broken Rifle 2', by Irene MacWilliam. (Photo: Martin Melaugh)
    'Broken Rifle 2', by Irene MacWilliam. (Photo: Martin Melaugh)


    Title of Textile:Broken Rifle 2
    Maker: Irene MacWilliam
    Country of Origin: Northern Ireland
    Year Produced: 2013
    Size (cm): 30cm (w) x 21cm (l)
    Materials: Made with cottons and machine worked.
    Type of Textile: Arpillera

    Broken Rifle, the striking image of two raised hands clenching a rifle broken in half is vividly depicted here in textile form by MacWilliam. The symbol itself, which represents the destruction of weapons and denounces the institution of war, was first used in the masthead of the January 1909 issue of "De Wapens Neder" (Down With Weapons), the monthly paper of the International Anti-militarist Union in the Netherlands. During the twentieth century it has become synonymous with the pacifist/nonviolent section of the anti-war movement.

    War Resisters International (WRI), a global pacifist and anti-militarist network which came into being in 1921 has adopted the broken rifle as its core symbol. With over 80 affiliated groups in 40 countries committed to their founding declaration which states that: “War is a crime against humanity. I am therefore determined not to support any kind of war, and to strive for the removal of all causes of war..,” the broken rifle is indeed an apt symbol.

    At the Arpilleras International Forum held in Gernika in February 2016, Alex Carrascosa, one of the organizers, donated the Zapatista doll that he had kept for years and which had lost its gun. Roberta Bacic draped it with the WRI badge and placed it covering the rifle end sewn by Irene MacWilliam.

    Owner: Conflict Textiles collection
    Location: Roberta Bacic, Northern Ireland
    Original / Replica: Replica
    Photographer: Martin Melaugh

    Textile exhibited at: War-Torn Children, 1/03/2017 - 15/04/2017
    (Des)tejiendo miradas. Relatos y correlatos textiles sobre reconciliación en Colombia, 20/01/2021 - 21/04/2021

    Textile Detail Image(s)