Wednesday, 24 July 2024

Textile Details

'No going back' Sonia Copeland. (Photo: Martin Melaugh)
'No going back' Sonia Copeland. (Photo: Martin Melaugh)


Title of Textile:No going back
Maker: Sonia Copeland
Country of Origin: Northern Ireland
Year Produced: 2009
Size (cm): 56cm x 45cm
Materials: Scraps of materials hand sewn on burlap backing and digital photo transfer
Type of Textile: Arpillera

This arpillera, the first made by long-time quilter Sonia Copeland, came about when it looked like the hard-won peace in Northern Ireland was threatened by three killings in early 2009.

Sonia explains: "My piece shows the Belfast City Hall, and in the foreground, a representation of one of the cross-community demonstrations, which followed the murders of Constable Stephen Carroll and Sappers Mark Quinsy and Patrick Asimkar by so called 'Republican terrorists'." This demonstration of support for the victims and their families was important to Sonia, who had served in the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) during the worst years of The Troubles and had suffered as a result of terrorist attacks on four occasions.

Fear about going back to a time of war strengthened Sonia's resolve for peace: "It seemed to me that the peace that was won with so much pain and suffering was once again to be snatched away. I resolved that nothing and no one would steal from my children the right to a peaceful life, which was stolen from me and my generation."

The theme and sentiments depicted by Sonia illustrate the continuing fragility of peace in present day Northern Ireland. Nonetheless, the proliferation of cross community projects promoting a shared understanding and peaceful co-existence between diverse groups is building foundations for a more peaceful future for the next generation.

This arpillera is also documented in Accounts of the Conflict a digital archive of personal accounts of the conflict in and about Northern Ireland, located at the International Conflict Research Institute (INCORE), Ulster University. A total of 10 textiles from the Conflict Textiles collection are included in “Accounts of the Conflict”.

Owner: Ulster Museum collection
Location: Ulster Museum, Belfast, Northern Ireland
Original / Replica: Original
Photographer: Martin Melaugh
Provenance: Acquired from Conflict Textiles collection (2022).

Textile exhibited at: Arpilleras that Cry Out, 22/06/2009 - 10/07/2009
Finding Our Voices -The Power of Arpilleras, 26/09/2009 - 30/10/2009
Threads of Life: Quilts and arpilleras that speak out, 16/10/2009 - 1/11/2009
The Human Cost of War, 8/11/2009 - 21/11/2009
'Arpilleras Aus Chile' -Eine Retrospektive, 6/05/2010 - 28/05/2010
Stitching Resistance, 12/10/2010 - 16/01/2011
The Human Cost of War - An Exhibition of Quilts and Arpilleras, 4/11/2010 - 15/01/2011
Arpilleras and the Poetry of Survival, 10/05/2011 - 9/06/2011
Arpilleras: Community Action and Empowerment through Narrative Textile Art, 6/03/2012 - 6/04/2012
ÜberlebensKunst - Konfliktbearbeitung durch textile Bilder, 12/07/2012 - 26/08/2012
Stitching and Unstitching The Troubles-phase 1, 5/09/2012 - 29/09/2012
Stitching and Unstitching The Troubles-phase 2, 13/04/2013 - 29/06/2013
Arpilleras in contested spaces, 3/09/2013 - 6/09/2013
RETAZOS TESTIMONIALES: arpilleras de Chile y otras latitudes, 28/09/2013 - 10/11/2013
Stitching and Unstitching The Troubles II, 6/12/2013 - 22/02/2014
Textile Accounts of Conflicts, 17/11/2014 - 18/11/2014
Textile Accounts of Conflicts, 6/02/2015 - 7/03/2015
Arpilleras: Verhalen over leven / Arpilleras: stories of life and survival, 23/09/2015 - 20/11/2015
ARPILLERAS: verhalen over leven / ARPILLERAS: stories of life and survival, 16/01/2016 - 24/02/2016
Enduring Life: Arpillera Voices, 11/05/2016 - 15/07/2016
Textile Language of Conflicts, 6/11/2017 - 10/11/2017
The Troubles and Beyond, 30/03/2018 - 13/05/2019
Conflict Textiles workshops, 9/01/2019 - 29/01/2019
Conflict Textiles as Live and Archival Language , 25/08/2020 - 25/08/2020
Conflict, Peace: Our journey, our future, 14/09/2020 - 31/10/2020
(Des) Tejiendo Miradas / (Un-) Stitching Gazes , 15/01/2021 - 1/03/2021
Nonviolence in Action: Antimilitarism in the 21st Century, 24/03/2021 - 31/12/2021
Transformative Memory International Network 2022 MemoLab: Northern Ireland, 17/10/2022 - 6/11/2022
International Human Rights Day 2022: Embracing Human Rights, 9/12/2022 - 9/12/2022

Textile Detail Image(s)