Friday, 1 December 2023

Textile Details

'Con-textualizando la memoria / Contextualising memory outcome banner', by participants in the 'Contextualising memory' workshop programme. (Photo: Martin Melaugh)
'Con-textualizando la memoria / Contextualising memory outcome banner', by participants in the 'Contextualising memory' workshop programme. (Photo: Martin Melaugh)


Title of Textile:Con-textualizando la memoria / Contextualising memory outcome banner
Maker: Participants in the 'Contextualising memory' workshop programme
Country of Origin: Northern Ireland / UK / Colombia
Year Produced: 2021
Size (cm): 93 cm (w) x 114 (h)
Materials: Various fabric scraps and threads on a hessian / burlap backing
Type of Textile: Banner

Displayed as a collective banner and unveiled for International Human Rights Day 2021, at Ulster University, Magee Campus Library, these 26 dolls embody connections, time, process and resilience. As they hold us in their gaze, they invite us to absorb the experiences of their makers; experiences of fleeing the conflict in Colombia, of giving testimony to the Colombian Truth Commission and of supporting it in exile.

The dolls were created in a series of three online workshops in September 2021, facilitated by Conflict Textiles curator Roberta Bacic and Conflict Textiles Fabric Artist Deborah Stockdale. The initiative, which is part of the Colombian Truth Commission (CTC) support spaces in the UK and Ireland, was commissioned by the Transitional Justice Institute, Ulster University and groups of people supporting the CTC in the UK and Ireland.

In these ‘hands on’ online workshops, building on the framework of memorialisation and using several arpilleras as a reference, Roberta and Deborah guided the process via zoom. With needle and thread participants shaped, stitched and dressed their dolls; these multilayered dolls who conveyed via textile language what these survivors of the conflict in Colombia could not describe in words. The completed dolls, all bearing name tags, arrived by post to Roberta, and were mounted on a hessian backing by her and Deborah. A small pocket on the reverse side of the banner contains the hand written notes which accompanied some dolls; a practice common among the early Chilean arpilleristas. (Photo gallery of online workshops)

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) conservatively estimates that there are between 340,000 and 550,000 Colombian refugees around the world, many of whom live in the United Kingdom. As we return the gaze of these steadfast dolls who transcend time and geographical boundaries, let us reflect on and extend solidarity to these Colombians - the majority of whom are not officially recognised as refugees or asylum seekers - who remain exiled as a result of the Colombian conflict.

Con-textualising Memory / Con-Textualizando la memoria (short film 6.29m) features the banner and documents the core elements of the overall launch, seminar and workshop event on 10th December 2021. The arpillera doll images are featured in an e book (CEV Uk & Irlanda, 2022) Exilio y Memoria: Voces de la Colombia fuera de Colombia.

Owner: To be determined
Location: Roberta Bacic, Northern Ireland
Original / Replica: Original
Photographer: Martin Melaugh

Textile Detail Image(s)

  'Con-textualizando la memoria / Contextualising memory outcome banner' (Reverse side), by participants in the 'Contextualising memory' workshop programme. (Photo: Martin Melaugh)