Friday, 30 September 2022

Textile Details

'Tenemos que vivir bajo llaves / We have to live behind closed doors'. Anonymous. (Photo: Martin Melaugh)
'Tenemos que vivir bajo llaves / We have to live behind closed doors'. Anonymous. (Photo: Martin Melaugh)


Title of Textile:Tenemos que vivir bajo llaves / We have to live behind closed doors
Maker: Anonymous
Country of Origin: Chile
Year Produced: 1980c
Size (cm): 47cm (w) x 37cm (l)
Materials: scraps of material hand sewn onto burlap
Type of Textile: Arpillera

This Chilean arpillera was made by a community workshop set up by a Protestant Church in the shanty towns of Santiago. It was done in the late 1970s/circa 1980 and acquired by a Swiss couple involved in solidarity work with Chile.

Campamento San Jeronimo was one of the many squalid settlements established by poor families in the outskirts of Santiago. This arpillera shows the mountains, but not the sun.

It portrays graphically how people in these poor neighbourhoods had to deal with their problems and it also exposes those problems. Everything had to be borne in silence, discussed behind doors. To find out what is going on, we have to open the doors that cover different episodes. So, we see three ill children having to share one bed; a couple discussing where they could find work; two women worried as many children are awaiting a bowl of soup from their soup kitchen and they are worried it will not be enough for all of them. The woman who is washing clothes is saying how much she is missing her husband.

This arpillera exposes a situation where people were pushed to the limit, which was a common experience in Chile during the dictatorship. Specifically, this piece shows what happened to poor people who had different political and social views and could not express them publicly without being persecuted.

Owner: Conflict Textiles collection. Provenance Heidi and Peter Gessler, Switzerland
Location: Roberta Bacic, Northern Ireland
Original / Replica: Original
Photographer: Martin Melaugh

Textile exhibited at: Arpilleras / Quilts that cry out, challenge and question, 12/11/2008 - 14/11/2008
The Politics of Chilean Arpilleras II, 2/03/2009 - 31/03/2009
Threads of Destiny: Testimonies of Violence, Hope and Survival, 9/05/2009 - 26/07/2009
Textiles with a Story, 4/12/2009 - 4/12/2009
Arpilleras: Voices on Tapestries, 8/03/2010 - 31/03/2010
Arpilleras: Embajadoras para el Bicentenario Quilts/Arpilleras: Ambassadors for the B, 14/04/2010 - 20/05/2010
Exhibit of Chilean Arpilleras, 20/05/2010 - 22/05/2010
Arpilleras e resistência política no Chile , 30/07/2011 - 30/10/2011
Arpilleras e resistência política no Chile, 3/11/2011 - 13/11/2011
Arpilleras of Chilean political resistance , 22/03/2012 - 5/06/2012
Arpilleras Poéticas y recital del poeta chileno Jaime Huenún, 10/11/2012 - 15/12/2012
RETAZOS TESTIMONIALES: arpilleras de Chile y otras latitudes, 28/09/2013 - 10/11/2013
Arpillera Journeys, 6/03/2015 - 12/06/2015

Textile Detail Image(s)