Wednesday, 21 February 2024

Textile Details

'Presencia de Edime Peirano / Edime Peirano's Presence', by Ana Zlatkes. (Photo: Martin Melaugh)
'Presencia de Edime Peirano / Edime Peirano's Presence', by Ana Zlatkes. (Photo: Martin Melaugh)


Title of Textile:Presencia de Edime Peirano / Edime Peirano's Presence
Maker: Ana Zlatkes
Country of Origin: Argentina
Year Produced: 2018
Size (cm): 45cm (w) x 65cm (l)
Materials: Cotton threads
Type of Textile: Arpillera

Human rights violations, forced disappearances and illegal arrests became the hallmark of the military junta led by Lieutenant General Videla who seized power in Argentina in March 1976. The Nunca Más (Never Again) report (1984), by the National Commission on the Disappearance of Persons (Conadep), estimates that up to 9000 cases of forced disappearance and other human rights violations were perpetrated in this era and conclude the real figure to be much higher.

Edime Peirano, a 25 year old lawyer who disappeared on the 15th April 1977, on her way to work, was one such victim. She was taken to ESMA (The School of Mechanics of the Navy), a torture centre in Buenos Aires, sedated, bundled into a plane which flew southwards, and thrown out alive over the Rio de la Plata river.

Over 40 years later, textile artist Ana Zlatkes reconnects us with Edime. On her colourful sweater, which Edime hand-knitted herself, Ana embroidered a forest, using some sweater threads. Edime’s sister Alicia, who gave the sweater to Ana, imagines that: “maybe the last things she saw were the trees of the ESMA, before she was thrown into the Rio de la Plata river …via the Death Flights designed not to find the remains of the victims.”

The prominent little white figure in the middle of the forest, Ana explains, “seems like a ghost, in the same way that [they] tried to make invisible the people who disappeared, but they are always present.”

On 29th November, 2017, at the culmination of the five year trial in which 54 people were indicted for crimes committed at ESMA, 29 were sentenced to life imprisonment; 19 were given jail sentences ranging from eight to 25 years; and six were acquitted. BBC News (30 November 2017) "Argentina: Former military officials convicted for crimes against humanity".

On 29th April, 2018 a court ruling confirmed, what her family had long known, that Edime was amongst the disappeared of ESMA.

As the threads of Edime’s life come together in this memory textile and her perpetrators are brought to justice Alicia expresses her thanks: “for keeping her memory alive and the others that encountered the same ending.”

Alicia was present when this piece was exhibited for the first time in the National Museum of Cultures, Mexico, as part of the “Huellas: puntadas y caminares de la memoria / Footprints: memory stitches and steps” exhibition, 2018.

Owner: Conflict Textiles collection
Location: c/o Alejandra Wolff Rojas, Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Santiago de Chile
Original / Replica: Original
Photographer: Martin Melaugh
Provenance: Ana Zlatkes

Textile exhibited at: Huellas: puntadas y caminares de la memoria / Footprints: memory stitches and steps , 29/09/2018 - 4/11/2018
Conflict Textiles talk , 3/02/2019 - 3/02/2019
Threads, War and Conflict, 3/04/2019 - 29/04/2019
Poesie des Nähens / The Poetry of Stitching, 17/01/2020 - 8/03/2020
Following the footsteps of the disappeared, 30/08/2020 - 30/08/2021
Memory and Representation in Latin America Congreso Virtual: Memoria y Representación, 8/04/2021 - 10/04/2021
Following the Footsteps of the Disappeared 2021, 31/08/2021 - 20/12/2021
Tras las huellas de los/as desaparecidos/as, 10/01/2022 - 5/02/2022
State of the Art: Transformative Memories in Political Violence, 28/09/2022 - 23/10/2022
Arpilleras Poéticas, 7/12/2023 - 12/02/2024
Archivos Textiles: memorias que persisten, 12/02/2024 - 17/03/2024

Textile Detail Image(s)

  'Presencia de Edime Peirano / Edime Peirano's Presence' (Detail 1), by Ana Zlatkes. (Photo: Ana Zlatkes)  'Presencia de Edime Peirano / Edime Peirano's Presence' (Detail 2), by Ana Zlatkes. (Photo: Ana Zlatkes)