Wednesday, 21 February 2024

Textile Details

'Legacy of Tyrants/ El legado de los tiranos', by Lisa Raye Garlock. (Photo: Martin Melaugh)
'Legacy of Tyrants/ El legado de los tiranos', by Lisa Raye Garlock. (Photo: Martin Melaugh)


Title of Textile:Legacy of Tyrants / El legado de los tiranos
Maker: Lisa Raye Garlock
Country of Origin: USA
Year Produced: 2018
Size (cm): 76 cm (w) x 58 cm (l)
Materials: Fabrics-cotton, wool, silk, canvas and synthetic leather
Type of Textile: Story Cloth

Lisa Garlock’s sense of “shock, disbelief, dismay and continuous outrage”, in the wake of the 2016 US Presidential election, finds expression in this piece, within a global context of repressive regimes, both historical and current.

She attributes the 12% increase in reported hate crimes across the 10 largest cities in the US to President Trump’s “self-absorption and fomentation of division and hate”. (Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University at San Bernardino (May 2018) quoted in the The Washington Post, May 11, 2018)

Her outrage at his environmental and trade policy “he trashes the environment” is echoed by renowned author and linguist Noam Chomsky, who recently stated that “the leader of ‘the Free World’ …is… dedicated with considerable passion to escalating the race to disaster” (“The goal should be to encourage people to think for themselves”, New Internationalist 510, March 2018).

While rooted in the US, the central imagery of skulls emerged “…as I was listening to news reports of the Rohingya genocide in Myanmar and the Yazidi genocide in Iraq” She explains her choice of materials and techniques. “The skulls are made from heavy canvas, fabric crayons, and embroidered and appliquéd with black lace and red fabric. The lace represents women, [who] often bear the brunt of brutal, patriarchal governments”.

These fabrics, touched with care, their various layers thoughtfully shaped to create this stark image reminds us that each skull we see embodies a living person who was part of a family, who lived in a community, who had hopes for their future; hopes unrealised.

The number 1,595,000,000 +, stitched underneath the title is, explains Lisa, the approximate sum of deaths under the 13 most lethal dictatorships of the past 100 years. Daily Beast. (2011)

The imagery, the numbers, the lives behind the numbers, the historical, current, global and US context all converge as a stark reminder of the need to remember and reflect on the past; a past still present for many communities. Lisa’s final comment invites us to take action: “…protest [against] current tyrannical regimes, and start resisting sooner, rather than after it’s too late”.

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: Lisa Raye Garlock

Textile Detail Image(s)