In this post we reflect on conflict textiles’ status as art, as well as on their potential, indeed their force, in pressing for (international) justice. As to the former question, we point out how conflict textiles complicate the very category of “art” – how they straddle divides between art, craft and activism, and how the medium of textile and the practice of needlework continue to be associated with femininity, domesticity and “mere” decorative purposes. With regard to the latter point, we describe the role that conflict textiles can play in trials and truth and reconciliation commissions, yet we also argue that their greatest value lies in the powerful work they do outside such formal justice processes.
In today's guest post by Lorna Dillon, we learn more about the history of arpilleras in Chile and beyond, which role they played and still play in denouncing human rights violations, and in the power of the seed of sewn solidarity.
In this guest post, Tomoko Sakai reflects on the "Stitching Memoryscapes" exhibition that she organised in three cities in Japan in 2017: Tokyo, Kyoto, and Nagasaki. Read about textile explorations of war, the A-bomb, and natural and nuclear disaster in Japan and their dialogue with conflict textiles from Chile and around the world.
The second episode of Liv Williams' Stitched Voices podcast is here. Enjoy listening!
Read about the interweaving of life trajectories, arpilleras, political activism, Chilean democratisation, and academia in this insightful guest post by Lucy Taylor.