Chilean Arpilleras

September 11 – October 11

Arpilleras are three-dimensional appliqué textiles of Chile, whereby rags were used to create images and then embroidered on large pieces of cloth. After the military coup in 1973, which introduced the Pinochet regime, the Association of Relatives of the Disappeared in Chile began to make arpilleras. They were handcrafted, using scraps of materials collected by women or donated by the churches in Chile. They tell their stories and support their families. Women political prisoners also made them, either inside the prisons or when they were released. They used them to camouflage notes sent to the world outside, to people who would denounce what was happening at national or international levels or people who could act on their behalf to either assist them in their different needs or would be able to pass on messages to their dear ones.

Arpilleras have served as testimony to the tenacity and strength of these Chilean women in their determined struggle for truth and justice and to break the code of silence imposed upon the country. At the time they were done they depicted what was actually happening, today they are witnesses to what can not be forgotten and are part of our present-past that needs to be dealt with. Curated by Roberta Bacic.


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