Threads of Survival: Chilean Arpilleras of Resistance

January 22 – February 19, 1989

Maltwood Art Museum and Gallery

The arpilleras made in workshops in the slum areas of Santiago have their roots in Chilean folk-art, but in fact, represent a significant break from it. The small appliqué wall-hanings are being created with the explicit purpose of export. They are being sent out to establish links with women abroad as well as to draw attention to the unbearable conditions that exist for people living in Santiago’s shanty towns.

The arpillera workshops are part of a cultural movement of protest in Chile that exists in all art forms. Heavy government repression has not succeeded in curtailing this form of expression. It is to be seen on stage, in cafes, on book shelves, magazine racks, radio stations and in new forms of folk-art, such as the arpilleras.

Created by unnamed Chilean women, these arpilleras document the suffering of a whole country.