This is a unique opportunity to see arpilleras made by relative of prisoners and disappeared people under Pinochet’s regime. These will be exhibited together with Patchworks designed and made the members of the ChileScda’s Andes group who responded to their exile by interweaving memories from back home and the life they now lived. (This exhibition is part of the Chile40YearsOn network’s commemoration of the 40th Aniversary of the social-human tragedio brought about by Pinochet’s military coup in Chile)
ChileScda, Park House, Abbeyfield Park, Sheffield S4 7AT
Last day: Tuesday 18 to Saturday 22 of June from 10:00 to 7:30pm
Pictures of the Launch and Exhibition
Arpilleras are the art of a collective national memory. During the Augusto Pinochet dictatorship, many Chilean women created complex tapestries depicting the harsh conditions of life and the pain resulting from the imprisonment of relatives and the disappeared victims of Pinochet’s repression. These tapestries, known as arpilleras, get their name from the Spanish word for the burlap backing they used.
In their refusal to forget, the arpilleristas created the unwritten history of a country silenced by terror and brutality. They document the experiences of the Chilean people during the Pinochet years. They are a visible reminder of one of the darkest periods in Chilean history.
The colourful patchwork scenes make the arpilleras visually deceiving. Using a traditional form of folk art, they mix coded imagery with contemporary history. They depict the often tragic situations experienced by thousands of Chileans every day.
Exporting arpilleras became illegal once they were seen as anti-Chilean, but they continued to be smuggled out of the country.
The arpilleras were constructed from scraps of cloth that were either donated to or purchased for the workshops. Some women incorporated pieces of clothing or photographs belonging to lost loved ones, making the arpilleras part of the healing process. These women literally sewed a piece of their lives into their work, making each arpillera a unique form of memory cloth.