Gabriel San Roman
MoLAA's New Exhibit Threads Chile’s Tumultuous Past Through Arpilleras
Updated: Aug 12, 2020
At first glance, dozens of Chilean arpilleras—patchwork portraits on burlap canvasses—appear hopeful on display at the Museum of Latin American Art. Often depicting a beaming sun emerging from Andean mountaintops, the cheerful colors of stitched cloth sharply contrast with images of life under a brutal dictatorship: a presidential palace engulfed in flames, leftist activists dumped into the Pacific Ocean from military helicopters, book burnings and a boot stamping out press freedom.
“It was dangerous for Chilean women to create arpilleras but they were always working in spaces considered safe havens,” says Ana Maria Cobos, a retired Saddleback College librarian who helped organize the “Arte, Mujer y Memoria: Arpilleras From Chile 1973-1990” exhibit.
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