Friday, 2 December 2022

Textile Details

'María Loreto Castillo Muñoz', Anonymous. (Photo: Martin Melaugh)
'María Loreto Castillo Muñoz', Anonymous. (Photo: Martin Melaugh)


Title of Textile:María Loreto Castillo Muñoz
Maker: Anonymous
Country of Origin: Chile
Year Produced: 1984
Size (cm): 48cm (w) x 37cm (h)
Materials: Scraps of material hand sewn onto flour bag material with some embroidery; natural wool colour crocheted border
Type of Textile: Arpillera

This arpillera, created during the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile (1973-1990), depicts a crime being committed by the Chilean Secret Police (CNI – Central Nacional de Informaciones). It shows three black figures tying a woman up underneath two electricity pylons with lit dynamite nearby. The name of the victim, Maria Loreto Castillo, is written on the back of the arpillera, followed by ‘Dinamitada por la CNI’ (blown up by the CNI) and the year 1984. This scene of violence is contrasted with an animita (a Chilean place of religious veneration which recalls a tragic event in public spaces) bearing a cross, with four hands protruding from the left side of the arpillera holding candles and flowers in remembrance and memorial. Mountains are also included in the background, which are a common symbol in Chilean arpilleras to reflect the Andes mountains that run the length of the country. The creator(s) of the arpillera remain anonymous, though we do know that it was made relatively soon after the crime occurred, as it was sold internationally the same year.

The international sale of this arpillera provides one example of how arpilleras were created as both commemorative pieces and as a source of economic income. Information from the donors reveal it was purchased in a Christmas Market in England the same year. Given the powerful scene depicted and understanding the importance of arpilleras politically, when the owners decided to part with the piece, they reached out to the Conflict Textiles Collection to donate it on 30th March 2015. Once with the collection, research revealed that the arpillera documents a crime that was also recorded as part of CNRR (Corporación Nacional de Reparación y Reconciliación – National Corporation for Reparation and Reconciliation) report released in 1996

Owner: Conflict Textiles collection. Donation from Andy & Edwina Dunning. Received in March 2015
Location: Roberta Bacic, Northern Ireland
Original / Replica: Original
Photographer: Martin Melaugh

Textile Detail Image(s)

  'María Loreto Castillo Muñoz - backing', Anonymous. (Photo: Martin Melaugh)