Short video documentary about 'Arpilleras: Voices On Tapestries' exhibition

'Arpilleras that cry out' is a film by Gustavo Neves done by MA student from University of Ulster about the recent exhibitions in Coleraine and at the Chilean Embassy in London.

Part 1.

Part 2.


New Exhibition

Arpilleras: Voices on tapestries

Embassy of Chile, London, 8th - 31st March 2010


Image of Chilean arpillera taken from the Chilean Embassy invitation

Curated by Roberta Bacic, Arpilleras: Voices on tapestries is an exhibition of traditional Chilean arpilleras presented alongside international contributions from female artists who have been influenced by the language and culture surrounding the construction of these small, highly charged textiles. Arpilleras (pronounced ‘ar-peeair-ahs’) are three dimensional appliqué textiles of Latin America. They would be more commonly known as ‘quilts’ or ‘wall hangings’ handcrafted by women in Chile as a way of telling their stories of a struggle for truth and justice during the Pinochet’s dictatorship from 1973 to 1990. The arpilleras were often used to camouflage notes to prisoners and to send messages to the international press.

Over the course of this series the arpilleras have evolved and one can begin to trace how, from their conception and use in Chile, their language has spread internationally and can now be identified in the work of other women who have been exposed to them. This exhibition is a continuation of The Art of Survival series (curated by Roberta) that began life in Derry 2008 and through which I have been more recently involved, taking part in The Human Cost of War events in London 2009. To read more about the exhibition series and view all the works involved please visit The Art of Survival website here


My Piece - 'The Great Famine' (2010)

(Image credit: Colin Peck, from the curator Roberta Bacic's personal archive, January 27 2010) 

Caption for piece: This final piece, specially made for this exhibition, illustrates a dark period of Ireland’s past, the Great Famine of the 1840s. During this catastrophe, one million people died from starvation and disease, and a further one million emigrated. The famine occurred after the repeated failure of the potato crops upon which the poor depended almost entirely for food.  

Heron uses this arpillera to imaginatively voice her own connection to one of the areas worse affected by the famine – her ancestral home of Bantry in County Cork. The piece is made up of layers of fabric depicting a mountain and sea view superimposed onto a map including Bantry. A number of quintessential images of the Famine are included – the workhouse (where many of the destitute died), the ‘Coffin Ship’ (used to transport emigrants to the USA), the burning cabin with its evicted tenants, the woman scrambling for potatoes in the earth, and a funeral procession.


Forthcoming Exhibitions:

From London the exhibition will continue on to the Consulate General of Chile in New York. 

Exhibition: Arpilleras: Voices on tapestries
Date: 14th April to 14th May 2010
Venue: Consulate General of Chile
Address: 866 United Nations Plaza, New York, NY 10017-1822
United States of America 

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