Wednesday, 6 July 2022

Textile Details

'La Cueca Sola / Dancing Cueca alone', by Violeta Morales. (Photo: Martin Melaugh)
'La Cueca Sola / Dancing Cueca alone', by Violeta Morales. (Photo: Martin Melaugh)


Title of Textile:La cueca sola / Dancing cueca alone
Maker: Violeta Morales
Country of Origin: Chile
Year Produced: 1989
Size (cm): 44cm (w) x 33cm (l)
Materials: Scraps of material hand sewn onto burlap
Type of Textile: Arpillera

The detention and disappearance of Violeta Morales' brother Newton on 13th August 1974 catapulted her into an unfamiliar world of searching prisons for news of his whereabouts and denouncing the Pinochet regime at every opportunity.

Her resistance took many forms. She was an active member of the Association of Detained and Disappeared (AFDD), founder member of the Folkloric Musical Ensemble of Relatives of the detained-disappeared and Co-ordinator of the group Movement Against Torture Sebastián Acevedo.

This arpillera – another form of resistance by Violeta - shows women solo dancing the traditional Cueca, Chile's national dance. It represents the different emotions and stages of romance and is meant to be danced in pairs, wearing colourful clothing. Here the women dance alone and in severe black and white, wearing the image of their "disappeared" loved one over their heart. By dancing the Cueca in this manner they denounced the government's actions in a public space.

For Violeta and her comrades: "the Pinochet dictatorship made us exist, but not live… [It]forced us to renounce everything and to struggle against torture and human rights violations, as well as search tirelessly for our loved ones".

Her aspiration, voiced in 1994 that: "the arpilleras serve as a testimony for other generations, not only in Chile but also in the whole world" continues to be realised as this and other arpilleras from her generation broadcast their message of denouncement worldwide.

Agosin, M., (2008) "The Arpillera Movement in Chile – Second Edition" p.93

Owner: Conflict Textiles collection. Donation from Oshima Hakko Museum
Location: Roberta Bacic, Northern Ireland
Original / Replica: Original
Photographer: Martin Melaugh

Textile Detail Image(s)

  'La cueca sola / Dancing cueca alone' - Detail 1, by Violeta Morales. (Photo: Martin Melaugh)  'La cueca sola / Dancing cueca alone' - Detail 2, by Violeta Morales. (Photo: Martin Melaugh)