Stitching Resistance: The History of Chilean Arpilleras
Friday, October 19, 2012 thru January 2014
Tuesday-Sunday 10am - 5pm
$3 Adults, $2 seniors, free for children 16 & under. Free on Sundays.
Nearly forty years ago, the armed forces of Chile overthrew the administration of Salvador Allende. That day, September 11, 1973 created the necessary conditions in which this art form known as arpilleras was born and soon these textiles became the most visual (and visible), poignant, and widespread manifestation of opposition to authoritarianism, violation of human rights, the disappearance of loved ones-all things associated with the military government that ruled Chile until 1990.
Arpilleras are a powerful art form- so much more than a "charming" or quaint applique. Layers of sackcloth or burlap fabric (arpillera) were joined, principally through applique, to create multi-dimensional (in layers and meaning) works of protest and resistance. Based on the collection of poet and Wellesley College professor Marjorie Agosín, the exhibition, Stitching Resistance: The History of Chilean Arpilleras is a result of an intense collaboration by poets, artists, scholars, and curators. It includes a total of 74 works by a variety of arpilleristas (makers of arpilleras) and workshops. The featured works span the period from the 1973 military coup and highlight human rights issues and violations, abductions and desaparecidos disappeared people), women and community, exile, and politics and authoritarianism The exhibit also extends to the present with examples showcasing a section titled "After the Darkness" as a post regime Chile returns and confronts its past. There are even a number of works recording the 2010 Chilean Mining Rescue.
What happened in Chile from 1973 to 1990 captured the world. Artist and musicians both inside and outside of the country found ways to resist the regime, many were killed for it. Even the internationally recognized singer Sting wrote a song about the arpilleristas and their mission to look for their desaparecidos. His song "They Dance Alone (performed with Rubén Blades) captures this period in Chilean history and will be played ( in both English and Spanish) in the exhibition gallery to augment the artworks.
The intent of this powerful and extensive exhibit is to help illuminate the artistry and the history of arpilleristas and arpilleras in the hope that what happened to Chileans between 1973 and 1990 is never forgotten. And the artists who stitched it forever recognized.