Friday, 2 June 2023

Textile Details

'Her Pillow, the Earth', by Eileen Harrisson. (Photo: Arthur Harrisson and Eileen Harrisson)
'Her Pillow, the Earth', by Eileen Harrisson. (Photo: Arthur Harrisson and Eileen Harrisson)


Title of Textile:Her Pillow, the Earth
Maker: Eileen Harrisson
Country of Origin: Wales
Year Produced: 2017
Size (cm): 42 cm (w) x 35 cm (l)
Materials: Bleached and unbleached linen; organza; muslin; silk-painted and inkjet printed fabrics; acrylic paint; silk and cotton threads
Type of Textile: Arpillera

This piece expresses Eileen's grief at the terrible suffering in Aleppo; of people enduring relentless bombings, of the tragedy of children caught up in the conflicts of adults, in which over 400,000 Syrians have been killed and an estimated 13.1 million people, including over 5.3 million children, are in need of humanitarian assistance.

An article in the UK Independent newspaper “Massacre of innocents” (28th October 2016), touched Eileen to the core of her being and impelled her to respond via textile.

In his report, journalist Robert Fisk described how three children were playing on their balcony adjacent to a school in Aleppo when it was hit by shell fire one day at break time. All three died, a little girl, Khanom Fallaha, just two years old and her two older brothers. In death, she lay with her head turned to the right as if sleeping and the article read, 'Tonight, she will be in the earth'. These words and photograph of the classroom with its overturned chairs, little desks and trail of blood flowing over floor and books, haunted Eileen; so she made this work in which a swathe of earth-coloured muslin sweeps round a small girl like a shroud and red stitches flow like blood. On the other side, ruined buildings gaping with black, empty shells that should have been homes filled with laughter, light and love, threaten to topple onto her.

Tents on hard ground offer scant shelter for the 5 million Syrian refugees in winter's freezing cold but, trapped like the little girl drawn in thread, for far too many, the earth gives its pillow for the dead.

Owner: Conflict Textiles collection. Donation from Eileen Harrisson
Location: Roberta Bacic, Northern Ireland
Original / Replica: Original
Photographer: Arthur Harrisson and Eileen Harrisson

Textile exhibited at: War-Torn Children, 1/03/2017 - 15/04/2017
War-Torn Children, 8/02/2018 - 24/03/2018
War-Torn Children, 5/09/2018 - 29/11/2018
Conflict, Famine and Displacement: Then and Now, 13/06/2020 - 27/06/2020

Textile Detail Image(s)