Sunday, 1 October 2023

Textile Details

'Policlinico / Community Health Clinic', Anonymous. (Photo: Martin Melaugh)
'Policlinico / Community Health Clinic', Anonymous. (Photo: Martin Melaugh)


Title of Textile:Policlinico / Community Health Clinic
Maker: Anonymous
Country of Origin: Chile
Year Produced: 1980c
Size (cm): 45cm (w) x 37cm (l)
Materials: Scraps of material hand sewn onto burlap
Type of Textile: Arpillera

This arpillera was sewn in one of the many Santiago workshops, seven years into the military dictatorship; at a time when the impact of the repressive social and economic policies of the Pinochet regime were at their height. In addition to loss of their loved ones through executions, forced disappearances and exile, communities endured severe hardship through unemployment and either lack of, or unaffordable basic public services, such as water, electricity and health.

In response to the lack of state provided health care facilities, this neighbourhood has set up a community health clinic (policlinico). Through the open windows, clinic workers greet people who have formed a queue. Nearby, a woman who has been brought by ambulance is carried in on a stretcher. The flow of people continues, the healthy shouldering the less able. As people approach the clinic, we sense relief in their faces, and hope that in this bustling clinic their health needs will be met.

Similar to other arpilleristas, the maker of this piece has used everyday scraps of clothing. The road is made of corduroy, a fabric fashionable in the late 1970s/early 1980s. She possibly has children at school as the checked material of the roofs and house fronts are from school uniforms.

Overall, we see a determined community, taking responsibility for their own health needs, resilient in the face of adversity.

This arpillera, donated by Eyke Shannon, was passed over to Conflict Textiles via Andy & Edwina Dunning on 30th March, 2015.

Owner: Breege Doherty
Location: Breege Doherty, Donegal, Republic of Ireland
Original / Replica: Original
Photographer: Martin Melaugh
Provenance: Donation from Conflict Textiles collection(2018). Provenance Eyke Shannon, England. Received in March 2015.

Textile Detail Image(s)