Wednesday, 24 July 2024

Textile Details

'La Valija de la Memoria de Hernan / Hernan's Memory box', by Ana Zlatkes. (Photo: Martin Melaugh)
'La Valija de la Memoria de Hernan / Hernan's Memory box', by Ana Zlatkes. (Photo: Martin Melaugh)


Title of Textile:La Valija de la Memoria de Hernan / Hernan's Memory box
Maker: Ana Zlatkes
Country of Origin: Argentina
Year Produced: 2019
Size (cm): 20cm (width), 8cm (height), 9cm (length)
Materials: Cardboard, cotton bandage (inside), metal clasp
Type of Textile: Installation

Over forty years after Hernan Nuguer’s disappearance, textile artist Ana Zlatkes reconnects us with him through his yellowing, well-worn bandage given to her by his mother Juana Sigaloff, who turned 95 in May 2020. Ana reflects: “It was hard for me to use the bandage ... I had it for several months before I decided what to do. Then I started embroidering letters and people with the threads … from the bandage”.

Inside the lid of the earth coloured cardboard box she made, Ana inserted a page from Hernan´s brother Jaime’s book “Un habeas corpus en dictadura” (2015) relating to Hernan’s case. Through the phrase “Argentina 1976 – 1983” and the ghost figures stitched on the partially unrolled bandage, Ana lays bare the truth of the dictatorship and commemorates the memory of Hernan and the thousands of other people who were disappeared “recovering [their] memory so they are not forgotten”.

Hernan was 26 years old when he was kidnapped by Navy task forces at the door of his home on the morning of October 27th, 1977 as he was leaving to drive his mother to work. He was partially paralysed from an accident the previous year and walked with crutches and was prone to infections; facts outlined by his brother Jaime, a lawyer, when presenting his habeas corpus at the police department.

Hernan and his friend Pablo, who was kidnapped the previous day, were among more than 100 students from the faculty of architecture in Buenos Aires who went missing, as well as students from other faculties active in student affairs and the communist youth Federation (FEDE). Both men were later seen at ESMA (the school of Mechanics of the Navy), a torture centre in Buenos Aires. 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 the Videla era (1976 - 1983) and conclude the real figure to be much higher.

Since 1974, Jaime Nuguer has maintained a relentless search for justice. In his court statement presenting testimony on his brother’s case in 2013, he stated. "I want to clarify that our struggle continues to know what was the fate of my brother Hernán Nuguer, that of (his friend) Pablo Horacio Galarcep, … and that of all the other disappeared persons. It is a debt that Argentine society still owes to us and also to society itself.”

Alejandra Dandan, (Nov. 14, 2013 Página 12) The Testimony of Jaime Nuguer in the Crime Trial in The Esma

A Spanish translation by Jaime Nuguer is available here and in the 'textile detail' section below.

Owner: Conflict Textiles collection
Location: Conflict Textiles store
Original / Replica: Original
Photographer: Martin Melaugh
Provenance: Ana Zlatkes, Argentina

Textile Detail Image(s)

  'La Valija de la Memoria de Hernan / Hernan's Memory box',(bandage) by Ana Zlatkes. (Photo: Ana Zlatkes)  'La Valija de la Memoria de Hernan / Hernan's Memory box', by Ana Zlatkes. (Photo: Ana Zlatkes)  Hernan Naguer (Photo: Courtesy of his brother Jamie Naguer)  La Valija de la Memoria de Hernan: en español